Algeria lifted their second-ever Africa Cup of Nations title on Friday night, earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium.


It took Algeria just over a minute to take the lead in spectacular circumstances when Baghdad Bounedjah's long-range effort flicked high in the air off Salif Sane, before the ball dropped out of the heavens and into the back of the net. 


The two sides exchanged needless fouls for the majority of the first half, with both struggling to create any real opportunities before the interval.

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Senegal began the second half brightly and thought they had a way back into the game after they were awarded a penalty shortly before the hour mark, only for VAR to overrule the decision. Both M'Baye Niang and Youssouf Sabaly had excellent opportunities to score but, for all their hard work, Senegal could not find a way through, and it was Algeria who lifted the famous trophy.


SENEGAL

Key Talking Point


The Senegal squad will be incredibly frustrated by this defeat. They struggled to create any real chances, with Algeria doing all they could to break up Senegal's attacking flow. There were countless fouls, and the Lions simply couldn't get going.

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Conceding the goal in the manner they did was hugely unlucky, and missing out on that second-half penalty thanks to VAR will hurt even more, and it was clear that it just was not Senegal's night. Chances weren't dropping, deflections were going against them and they simply could not break down Algeria's resolute defence.

For Senegal, the wait for their first ever AFCON title goes on.

Player Ratings


​Starting XI: Gomis (5); Gassama (5), Kouyate (6), Sane (6), Sabaly (6); Saivet (6), Ndiaye (6), Gueye (7*); Sarr (5), Niang (5), Mane (6).

Substitutes: Diatta (6), Diagne (6), Balde (N/A).

STAR MAN - Idrissa Gueye


The likes of ​Sadio Mane and Ismaila Sarr endured a challenging evening against Algeria, but Idrissa Gueye's solid work in the midfield gave them plenty of chances to change that.

The ​Ev​erton man was his typically determined self, recovering possession well before giving the ball to his creative teammates. Gueye's energy allowed him to fly around the pitch, and he could be seen frustrating Algeria all night long, even if he his frustration often got the better of him.


It was far from a perfect showing for Gueye, but he was certainly unfortunate to come out on the losing side.


ALGERIA


Key Talking Point


What a summer this was for Algeria. They were optimistic heading into the tournament, although few would have seriously believed that they would win.

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Hope began to build as Algeria saw off the likes of the Ivory Coast and Nigeria, whilst a group-stage victory over Senegal left fans dreaming of glory. Since the AFCON first kicked off back in June, Algeria have been the best side on show, and they now have the ultimate reward to show for it.

They last won the trophy back in 1990, but they now have a well-deserved second to add to their cabinet. 

Player Ratings


Starting XI: M'bolhi (6); Zeffabe (6), Mandi (7*), Benlamri (7), Bensebaini (6); Mahrez (5), Guedioura (7), Bennacer (7), Feghouli (5); Bounedjah (6), Belaili (6).​

Substitutes: Brahimi (6), Tahrat (N/A), Slimani (N/A).

STAR MAN - Aissa Mandi


After their fortunate opener, Algeria needed to remain resolute in defence and, thanks to Aissa Mandi, they certainly did that. 


The Real Betis star was dominant at the back, showing his composure to fight off each Senegalese attack. He was always in the right position to shield his goalkeeper, whilst he was comfortable on the ball to try help his team push forward.


This game certainly won't live long in the memory, but Mandi and Algeria will not mind that at all.


Looking Ahead


Both sets of players will now be afforded some well-deserved rest, before returning to their clubs to begin preparations for the upcoming season.​