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Mauritania send Algeria out of AFCON

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Mauritania celebrate their win. PHOTO/CAF
  • Mauritania beat Algeria 1-0
  • Algeria exit the AFCON in the group stages for the second time in a row
  • Angola beat Burkina Faso but both progressed

Mauritania stunned Algeria by a solitary goal and sent the two-time champions crushing out of the Africa Cup of Nations. Yali Dellahi’s first half goal proved to be the killer blow as the Mauritaian side enjoyed a historic and one of a kind victory.

Les Fennecs exit the AFCON in the group stages for a second consecutive time without winning a game, further piling pressure on head coach Djamel Belmadi.

Algeria finish bottom of group C with just two points from back to back draws while Mauritania will finish third with three points, and will hope to finish as one of the best ranked number three sides.

The North Africans knew they were in a must win situation, and three points would have been enough to book them a last 16 spot. They started well with Adam Ounas being denied by a great save from the Mauritanian keeper.

Minutes later, Ounas who was industrious on the right cut back a well weighted cross into the box, but Houssem Aouar could not connect on target, his effort bouncing inches wide.

Mauritania broke the deadlock in the 37th minute, Dellahi bouncing a volley beyond the keeper after the ball was recycled following a half hearted clearance from a corner.

In the second half, Algeria threw everything at Mauritania, and the latter had their keeper Babacar Niasse to thank as he pulled brilliant saves to deny Hicham Boudaoui and Aissa Mandi.

Mauritania heap more pressure 


Mauritania celebrate their winning goal. PHOTO/CAF

While they pushed bodies forward, Algeria were almost punished but were saved by the bar when Pape Ibnou Ba’s connection from an Aboubakar Kamara cross came off the woodwork.

Algeria threw in everything in the final minutes, but they couldn’t break a resolute Mauritanian side which won their first ever AFCON game in history.

Meanwhile, Angola finished top of Group D after beating Burkina Faso 2-0 in Yamoussoukro. The Angolans finished with seven points from two wins and a draw, while Burkina also secured automatic qualification at second place off a win and a draw.

Mabululu and Zini scored the goals for Palancas Negras who remained unbeaten after three matches.

Mabululu broke the deadlock after 35 minutes with his second goal of the tournament, a brave header from inside the box off a freekick from skipper Fredy.

It was a deserved lead for the Angolans as they had seemed hungrier of the two sides, and were all out to get maximum points.

They had some few more chances with Zini coming close, but their efforts weren’t bearing fruit.

Angola sustain Burkina Faso pressure 


Angola players celebrate their win. PHOTO/CAF

In the second half, Burkina Faso tried to get back into the game but couldn’t get their finishing together. Issa Kabore’s brilliant cross had found Gustavo Sangare inside the box but the midfielder couldn’t head on target.

Sangare played provider minutes later, sending Dango Ouattara through but the latter was denied one on one by the goalkeeper. Ouattara would also have another opportunity but he couldn’t quite get his feet together in the final third.

Ultimately, it was Angola who got the next goal, their hunger once again lifting them through. Off a quick change from offense to defense, Jeremie Bella picked the ball from range and struck on target, but keeper Herve Koffi spilled the swerving shot.

Zini was the quickest into the scene and pounced on the rebound to sidefoot home and ensure the Angolans secured all three points and top the log.

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