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Football

Equatorial Guinea stun Algeria at AFCON, brings their unbeaten run to an end

Esteban Obiang celebrates his goal against Algeria

Equatorial Guinea stun Algeria at AFCON

Equatorial Guinea stun Algeria at AFCON. They provided perhaps the biggest upset at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after edging out defending champions Algeria 1-0 in Douala. Esteban Obiang netted the game’s sole goal in the 70th minute, a lead they guarded till the final whistle.

The win not only improves Equatorial Guinea’s chances of making it into the knockout phases of the competition but also puts to an end Algeria’s run of 35 unbeaten matches.

Before Sunday, the last time Algeria lost a football match was in October 2018. They are now left with a mountain to climb in their quest for back to back titles and now have to beat Ivory Coast in their final group match to progress to the round of 16.

Algeria had a good start to the tie with Youcef Bellaili having a good shot at goal blocked after striking on target from a Riyad Mahrez cutback in the 22nd minute.

A minute later, they thought they had a goal when Baghdad Bounedjah tapped the ball home from close range after the Equatorial Guinea keeper parried a Mahrez header into his path, but the goal was chalked off as Mahrez was adjudged to have been offside when he took his header.

The Nzalang Naciona had the best two chances in the first half. In the 36th minute, Pablo Garnet looked to catch keeper Rais Mbohli off guard with a freekick from the right, but the shot-stopper managed to reflex superbly and keep the ball away.

Three minutes later they came very close when the man of the match Iban Salvador took on a stinging shot from a distance after a corner wasn’t cleared fully, but his pile diver went inches wide with keeper Mbohli beaten.

In the second half, the pace of the game picked up and both teams sized each other up well.

Five minutes after the restart, impressive Salvador sent Luis Nlavo through with a peach of a pass, but the substitute’s first-time shot was well saved by Mbhali.

On the other end Algeria had a chance when Bellaili was picked out by a cross from Ismael Bennacer, but his goalbound shot was blocked.

The Algerians continued to pile the pressure, but they couldn’t crack a meaningful chance in the final third.

They ultimately caved in with 20 minutes left. Off a low corner from the left, Josete Miranda flicked the ball, the vital intervention taking it away from the Algerian defense. Esteban arrived sliding at the backpost to score and hand his side a dream lead.

Algeria tried to give in their all to get back into the game, but they couldn’t break the resolute Nzalang Nacional. They thought they had equalized with seven minutes left, but Bellaili’s goal on the volley was ruled out for offside, with VAR confirming as much.

Equatorial Guinea sought to keep the ball for the remaining minutes of the game, keeping possession with good passing.

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