Africa Cup of Nations: Reigning champions Algeria knocked out at group stage after defeat to Ivory Coast

The Independent
The Independent

There will be a change in continental champion this year, after the holders Algeria suffered an embarrassing early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations .

Algeria went into their final group stage game needing a win but were unable to rouse themselves after poor performances earlier in the tournament, finding themselves three down before the hour mark.

Goals from Franck Kessie, Ibrahima Sangare and Nicolas Pepe put Ivory Coast well in control to render Sofiane Bendebka’s consolation irrelevant.

It leaves the Desert Warriors bottom of Group E with just a single point, having failed to score against Sierra Leone in a goalless draw before being beaten by Equatorial Guinea.

Ivory Coast, meanwhile, established their place as one of the favourites heading into the knock-outs, finishing top with seven points.

Equatorial Guinea wrapped up second place with a 2-0 win over Sierra Leone, Pablo Ganet netting shortly before half-time. Sierra Leone were gifted an incredible chance to seal a draw which would prolong their stay in the tournament with a late penalty, but former Norwich and Middlesbrough forward Kei Kamara saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved in the 85th minute.

In the evening matches, Group F came to a close with Mali taking top spot thanks to a 2-0 win over Mauritania, Massadio Haidara and Ibrahima Kone netting the goals.

Gambia beat 10-man Tunisia 1-0 in the other fixture thanks to a last-minute Ablie Jabllow effort, though both sides progress to the knock-outs regardless.

Sudan and Sierra Leone are the third-placed sides who failed to reach the next stage, which will see the AFCON resume on Sunday 23 January.

AFCON Round of 16 fixtures

Burkina Faso vs Gabon

Nigeria vs Tunisia

Guinea vs Gambia

Cameroon vs Comoros

Senegal vs Cabo Verde

Morocco vs Malawi

Ivory Coast vs Egypt

Mali vs Equatorial Guinea

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