Ivory Coast 3-1 Algeria: Africa Cup of Nations – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian

8.44pm GMT

Related: Africa Cup of Nations: Pépé caps Ivory Coast win to send dismal Algeria home

6.05pm GMT

Well that was an impressive Ivory Coast performance ; they were sharper, quicker and slicker than a pretty insipid Algeria, who never found a cutting edge to match their neat passing all tournament. Just as they did the last time they went into a Cup of Nations as champions, in 1992, they’ve gone out at the first hurdle. If I wanted to be boring and Eurocentric I could point out how West Ham, Manchester City, Milan and others can now welcome back their Algerian stars early, but that would be boring and Eurocentric so I won’t.

Ivory Coast, on the other hand, go through to the tie of the round in the last 16, against Egypt next Wednesday. You’d make them favourites on the evidence of the tournament so far. Equatorial Guinea will play the winners of Group F, which resolves itself later tonight. Sierra Leone go out, alas, having acquitted themselves well on their return to the finals.

And that’s it from us for now. Stay on the site for Arsenal v Liverpool later, and more AFCON action when the knockouts commence. Thanks for your company and comments. Bye.

5.56pm GMT

Full-time: Sierra Leone 0-1 Equatorial Guinea

Full-time in Limbe too, and Equatorial Guinea qualify in second place.

5.55pm GMT

In the other game in the group , Kwame Quee of Sierra Leone has been sent off in injury-time as they still trail 0-1 to Equatorial Guinea

5.54pm GMT

Full-time: Ivory Coast 3-1 Algeria

And that’s it. Ivory Coast are through as group winners and Algeria are out.

5.52pm GMT

Ivory Coast goal disallowed

The crowning glory. Or is it? Haller nods in after a fien cross from the right but he’s clearly offside.

Updated at 5.53pm GMT

5.51pm GMT

90+2 mins: Zaha has a crack from 25 yards and his fierce low shot is well saved

5.50pm GMT

90+1 mins: Ivory Coast’s Konan wins another free-kick on the left, which is headed clear but Algeria can’t build again in the face of the Ivorians’ press.

Three added minutes are being played by the way

5.48pm GMT

89 mins: Algeria are attacking with purpose still but that finishing touch is eluding them, as it has all tournament. And now Ivory Coast break again, and Zaha gets his first touch by the byline on the left, but the move breaks down when a now-knackered Seri miscontrols in front of the keeper.

5.47pm GMT

88 mins: Ivory Coast gee up their fans with some flashy possession football in the middle of the park before Algeria win it back and earn a throw. But Ivory Coast repel all thrown at them. It’s surely too late.

5.44pm GMT

85 mins: Substitution: One for the Palace fans, at last, Wilfried Zaha is on for Pepe.

5.43pm GMT

84 mins: Pepe drives forward from right to left in another fluent Ivorian move and tees up Gradel on the left but his low shot is easily saved.

5.42pm GMT

83 mins: Algeria are stacking up their corner count now, and another one is won on the left but again is comfortably cleared and Ivory Coast break with Pepe, who slows the game to a stroll.

5.40pm GMT

82 mins: Another Algeria chance! Brahimi’s angled shot from distance is tipped over by the impressive Sangare.

5.40pm GMT

81 mins: Algeria subs: Boulaya and Benayada are on for Atal and Belaili.

5.39pm GMT

80 mins: Zerrouki traction-engines a shot from distance but it deflects off his own man, Slimani.

5.38pm GMT

77 mins: Slimani has perked Algeria up considerably here but Ivory Coast still look as if they have another goal in them on the break as Haller is crudely pulled back by Brahimi

5.36pm GMT

76 mins: Ivory Coast get the ball in the net again after a swift break but Nicolas Pépé was offside. It’s livened right up again

Updated at 5.36pm GMT

5.35pm GMT

75 mins: Another Algeria chance! They’re looking sprightlier and Slimani burrows into the area and is forced back but half a minute later gets on the end of a fine cross and his downward header is smartly turned behind by Sangare.

5.33pm GMT

Goal! Ivory Coast 3-1 Algeria (Bendebka 73)

Belaili has a free-kick now up the other end which is deflected for a corner, the first of which goes straight back for another oem, which is rather more cleverly worked and Mandi deftly knees it back across goal for Bendebka to score Algeria’s first goal of the tournament.
Sofiane Bendebka grabs one back for the reigning champions. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5.38pm GMT

5.30pm GMT

71 mins: Ivory Coast now have a free-kick in a promising position on the right, but Pepe curls it high and over.

5.29pm GMT

70 mins: Algeria win a corner on the left but it’s bent into the far post for a comfortable take from Sangare.

That penalty might well have supplied a tedious VAR-tinged Talking Point had a) the game still been in the balance and b) it been scored. It was very soft. But there we are.

5.27pm GMT

69 mins: Ivory Coast subs: Sangare and Deli off for Die and Kanon

5.26pm GMT

66 mins: On the touchline, Belmadi is displaying every ounce of his anguish and despair. He knows their 35-game unbeaten run is a goner.

Updated at 5.26pm GMT

5.24pm GMT

64 mins: Zerrouki clatters Pepe, who’s been everywhere, but escapes a booking.

5.21pm GMT

62 mins: Algeria substitutions: Bennacer and Bounedjah off, Bendebka and Brahimi on.

Updated at 5.22pm GMT

5.20pm GMT

61 mins: Algeria have another chance with a free-kick just outside the area but Mahrez skims this one wide.

5.19pm GMT

Mahrez's penalty hits the post!

And Algeria still aren’t off the mark. Mahrez’s spot-kick comes straight back off the keeper’s left-hand post.
Riyad Mahrez rues his missed penalty. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5.26pm GMT

5.16pm GMT

Penalty to Algeria

58 mins: And now Algeria build slickly, and they win a penalty as Belaili goes down. Looks contentious to say the least. But no VAR review

Updated at 5.17pm GMT

5.15pm GMT

56 mins: Thanks Niall. Well this has all escalated quickly. Game, and tournament, over for Algeria. As Gradel skips down the left again in acres of space before being dispossessed.

5.13pm GMT

GOAL! Ivory Coast 3-0 Algeria (Pépé 55')

This has been coming since the second half started. Nicolas Pépé strolls into the penalty area and without a defender to bother him, curls his shot into the far corner. Game over, surely.

And with that, I’ll hand you back to Tom ...
Arsenals Nicolas Pépé steers home the third goal for the Ivorians. Photograph: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters


Updated at 5.33pm GMT

5.10pm GMT

51 mins: Another chance for Ivory Coast! They want to get this game won, and M’Bolhi does well to repel Pepe’s snap shot at his near post.

Updated at 5.12pm GMT

5.09pm GMT

50 mins: Aurier is having fun out there – now the Ivorian captain has a go from fully 30 yards out, and his shot grazes the outside of the post with Rais M’Bolhi a helpless spectator.

5.08pm GMT

48 mins: It’s the team in orange who have started the second half on the front foot, with Sangaré seeing his shot blocked before Aurier fizzes in a low cross that Haller can’t quite turn into the net.

5.06pm GMT

46 mins: One half-time change from Algeria; Islam Slimani is on for Saïd Benrahma. That’s something of a surprise, although the West Ham man was ineffective in the first half.

5.03pm GMT

Second half

Here we go, then – we’re back under way in Douala. The Algeria players gather for an on-field huddle before kick-off.

Updated at 5.05pm GMT

4.52pm GMT

Half-time reading:

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Related: Wayne Rooney would be the perfect manager to revive Everton | Karen Carney

4.50pm GMT

In the other Group E game, it’s Sierra Leone 0-1 Equatorial Guinea at the break. As it stands, Equatorial Guinea are going through in second place and Sierra Leone will fall short in third – with Comoros moving on to the last 16.

4.48pm GMT

Half time! Ivory Coast 2-0 Algeria

Goals from Franck Kessié and Ibrahim Sangaré have given the Elephants a deserved lead, and Algeria need three goals in the second half to stay in the competition.

4.46pm GMT

45 mins: There will be three added minutes for Algeria to find something before the break – but Ivory Coast look comfortable since scoring the second, sitting back and keeping Mahrez and Benrahma off the ball.

4.43pm GMT

So, the defending champions’ hopes are hanging by a gossamer thread now. They need to win here, and they’re heading in at half-time 2-0 down.

4.42pm GMT

Ivory Coast win a free kick a long way out, wide on the right. Serge Aurier steps up and whips in a superb deep cross on to the head of Ibrahim Sangaré, who nods home from six yards out!
Ibrahim Sangaré in raptures after doubling the lead. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5.29pm GMT

4.40pm GMT

GOAL! Ivory Coast 2-0 Algeria (Sangaré 40')

Thanks, Tom – and in a moment of textbook timing, Ivory Coast have scored their second!
Ibrahim Sangare heads home the second goal for the Ivorians. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4.46pm GMT

4.39pm GMT

39 mins: Algeria are having to resort to quite a lot of long balls with the Ivorians having the upper hand in midfield.

Right, in the rolling-sub tradition of the best pub team six-a-side competitions, I’m going to briefly sub myself off for Niall McVeigh until early in the second half.

4.37pm GMT

36 mins: Algeria win a corner on the left after smart play down the left. It’s another short win and it’s worked right to Mahrez who jinks inside but his menacing low cross is cleared.

4.36pm GMT

35 mins: Algeria sort-of chance! A superb long ball forward from Mandi finds Belaili who’s stolen in beyond the last man but his volleyed first touch lets him down and Sangare gathers.

4.34pm GMT

33 mins: Algeria just aren’t looking as threatening as their opponents; while Bounedjah is closed down on the edge of the area, Ivory Coast break swiftly down the right again before play breaks down and now Mandi, Bennacer and Haller collide leaving the latter two on the deck.

4.32pm GMT

31 mins: Konan shows fine skill and control to open things up on the left again before it’s worked out to the inside right to Aurier, whose teasing low cross just eludes Haller.

4.29pm GMT

28 mins: It’s end to end at the minute and Algeria win another corenr on the right but, though Bensebaini’s header is blocked, Algeria regain possession and win another corner after a penetrating run by the full-back Atal. But that corner comes to nowt too.

4.27pm GMT

26 mins: Gradel wins a free-kick up the other end but it’s overhit badly and goes out for a goalkick to Algeria.

4.26pm GMT

25 mins: Kossonou slips momentarily under pressure from Benrahma but regains his ground as Sangare the keeper comes out to gather.

It’s still goalless in the other game, so as things stand Algeria are headed for bottom spot and Ivory Coast progress as group winners.

4.25pm GMT

23 mins: Pepe has been busy all game and after slick quick passing midway into the Algeria half he’s played in down the right and pulls it back for Kessie to volley deftly into the corner. Algeria are staring at the exit door now.
Franck Kessie (2nd R) celebrates with his Ivorian teammates. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4.40pm GMT

4.23pm GMT

Goal! Ivory Coast 1-0 Algeria (Kessie, 23)

No sooner do I say that than they concede a well-worked goal.
Franck Kessie volleys The Elephants into the lead. Photograph: Themba Hadebe/AP

Updated at 4.39pm GMT

4.22pm GMT

21 mins: Aurier concedes a corner to Algeria on the left, which is taken quickly to Bennacer, who ghosts in and fires just high and wide at the near post. Good training-ground move there from Algeria, who are beginning to look more threatening.

4.21pm GMT

20 mins : “The Ivory Coast left back is looking lively,” honks Peter Oh. “Excuse the barbaric pun but if he continues to maraud into the Algerian area like that he could earn the nickname Konan the Destroyer (of Algeria’s flagging title defence)“

4.19pm GMT

18 mins: The dangerous Haller is given a ball over the top to chase and Algeria clear for a throw. But Ivory Coast win a free-kick in an attacking position, from which Pepe is fed on the inside right channel and fires in a low shot to test M’Bohli in goal, who saves comfortably to his left.

4.16pm GMT

15 mins: The upshot is Algeria have a free-kick, which is swung in from Mahrez – and finds no one, drifting out for a goalkick.

Updated at 4.17pm GMT

4.14pm GMT

13 mins: Algeria win another corner, on the right this time. It’s a decent delivery met by a firm but wide header from Mandi. And now Belaili’s down, pushed by Deli, who’s just been booked. This looked more of an offence than the previous one to be honest.

Updated at 4.15pm GMT

4.13pm GMT

12 mins: Bookings: Ivory Coast’s Sergio Aurier goes into the book for dissent after Deli’s flailing arms around the noggin of Bounedjah also earns him a yellow card.

Updated at 4.14pm GMT

4.11pm GMT

10 mins: Behrahma forages down the left and wins a corner for Algeria, which is taken quickly but Belaili’s shot is charged down and cleared after he cut in from the left. No real openings yet for the defending champions.

4.09pm GMT

8 mins: Ivory Coast chance! Konan is fed by the already-lively Gradel and pulls it back from the byline to Pepe but the Arsenal man scuffs his shot over the bar.

4.07pm GMT

6 mins: Gradel is found by a searching ball out wide to the left, and shimmies and jinks his way to the by-line before just running it out of play. There could be openings on the break for Ivory Coast here.

4.05pm GMT

4 mins: Ivory Coast’s Konan breaks forward from left-back right into the Algeria penalty area before going down under a challenge. No penalty.
Ghislain Konan fails to win a spot-kick. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 4.09pm GMT

4.04pm GMT

3 mins: Mahrez belts it into the wall, where it cannons back off the prostrate Max Gradel in the “draft excluder” role.

4.02pm GMT

2 mins: Bennacer starts an early Algeria attack on the inside-left channel and after the ball is played from left to right then back again they win a free-kick in a dangerous position after a foul on Bounedjah …

4.01pm GMT

Peep! And we’re off. There’s a decent amount of noise coming from the crowd rattling around this sizeable bowl as Algeria get us under way. Both sides look to be playing a 4-2-3-1

3.55pm GMT

The teams are on their way out

3.37pm GMT

Of course, something of a second-round hazard awaits the winners of this group, in the form of Egypt, but the Pharaohs have been well below their best so far too. Such has been the unpredictable nature of the group stage, which after a goalshy start, has thrown up all manner of drama. Second in this group lands you a knockout tie against Gambia, Mali or Tunisia.

3.28pm GMT

Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea teams

And in the other game :

Sierra Leone : Mohamed Kamara, Kakay, Bangura, Steven Caulker, Wright, John Kamara, Abu Dumbuya, Quee, Kei Kamara, Bundu, Musa Kamara. Subs: Medo Kamara, Fofanah, Williams, KaiKai, Alhaji Kamara, Kargbo, Turay, Dunia, Ibrahim Sesay, Mansaray, Kallon, Isaac Caulker.

Equatorial Guinea: Owono, Carlos Akapo, Obiang, Coco, Ndong, Salvador, Ganet, Pepin, Miranda, Bikoro, Hanza. Subs: Angel, Cosme, Belima, Siafa, Emilio Nsue, Magno, Buyla, Nlavo, Eneme, Meseguer, Balboa, Luis Enrique Nsue.

3.13pm GMT

The teams are in

And they line up thusly :

Ivory Coast: Badra Ali Sangare; Aurier, Kossounou, Deli, Konan, Ibrahim Sangare, Seri, Kessie, Gradel, Haller, Pepe. Subs: Tape, Kanon, Zaha, Kouassi, Cornet, Maiga, Boga, Die, Bailly, Kouame, Cisse, Boli.

Algeria: M’Bolhi; Attal, Bensebaini, Bedrane, Mandi, Belaili, Zerrouki, Bennacer, Mahrez, Benrahma, Bounedjah. Subs: Zeghba, Tahrat, Feghouli, Brahimi, Belkebla, Slimani, Bendebka, Boulaya, Zorgane, Chetti, Benayada, Amoura.

So, West Ham’s Said Benhrahma gets a start in Algeria’s attack in place of Sofiane Feghouli while at the back Abdelkader Bedrane is back instead of Djamel Benlamri and the FC Twente midfielder Ramiz Zerrouki comes in for Sofiane Bendebka. Can the reshuffle result in a first goal at AFCON 21 for Algeria?

Updated at 3.20pm GMT

3.07pm GMT


Afternoon everyone , and welcome to an intriguing and hard-to-call denouement in Group E, in which the holders, Algeria, are in real danger of elimination. They need to win their most difficult fixture, against already-qualified Ivory Coast, to progress. To do that they’ll need to massively improve on limp, blunt performances against Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, whose win against them would have been the shock of the tournament had not Comoros upstaged them with their incredible triumph over Ghana.

So we’ll have an eye on the clash in Limbé, where Equatorial Guinea, on three points, take on Sierra Leone, on two, the latter having also impressed and exceeded expectations by holding the group’s two heavyweights to draws. At least one of these would deserve to go through too.

Algeria knocked out Ivory Coast on penalties in the quarter-finals en route to their 2019 triumph, so the Elephants should have some extra motivation this evening, alongside the need to shake off a creaky display against Sierra Leone. “We are going too play to win,” insists their manager, Patrice Beaumelle. Algeria’s coach, Djamel Belmadi, admits his side have “lacked efficiency” but has called on them to rise to the occasion.

Team news will be dropping shortly, and the matches kick off at 4pm GMT. Don’t go anywhere.

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