Algeria and Senegal both beat Nigeria and Tunisia respectively to progress to the final of the 2019 African Cup Of Nations.
The Dersert Warriors did it in dramatic fashion as Riyadh Mahrez’s 96th minute freekick from 20 yards did the trick for the North Africans.Algeria started the game like they have done in all their games this tournament,pressing and pushing their Nigerian counterparts.
They created the early openings with Baghdad Bounedjah being a thorn in the flesh of the Nigerian defence. The striker, however , waa not at his clinical best and scuffed a few chances in the early stages.
Algeria finally took the lead in the 41st minute when Riyadh Mahrez , after some good work on the by line sent in a cross that was turned into his own net by William Troost Ekong.
The hero from the quarter final game against South Africa had turned into the worst villian. The man who was on top of the world in the last game buried his head in his hands as though he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him.
Nigeria pushed for an equaliser after the break , with Iwobi and Chwukweze trying their luck from long range to no effect.
Algeria ,themselves, had several opportunities to double their advantage with Belaili drawing a fine save from Akpeyi.
Nigeria later got back into the game after Oghenekaro Etebo’s long range drive was handled in the box by Algerian CB, Mandi.
The referee, after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) , pointed to the spot for a penalty.
Odion Ighalo made no mistake from the spot and scored to become the leading top scorer at this year’s AFCON.
After the goal, both sides pushed for the winner. As substitute Henry Onyekuru came close from range, Algeria’s Bennacer hit the crossbar with a stinging effort from 25 yards out.
Algeria got the winner in the after Ndidi brought Bennacer down just infront of the penalty box.
Mahrez stepped up and placed a powerful shot in the top corner beyond the reach of Akpeyi to give Algeria the win and to propel them into their first final since 1990.
In the other semi final game, Senegal beat Tunisia 1-0 to reach the final.
The game itself was characterised by so many missed opportunities with Tunisia and Senegal guilty of missing lots of opportunities.
Senegal LB, Sabally came closest in the first half with a right footed curler coming off the post.
Sadio Mane also came close after failing to hit the back of the net when he looked to have rounded the goalkeeper.
In the second half, both teams continued to push for the winner.
Senegal came close with Niang before Tunisia had a penalty after Kalidou Koulibally was deemed to have handled the ball in the box.
Koulibally was booked, which means Senegal go into the final without their star defender.
Sassi stepped up, but the midfielder who is usually clinical from the spot, had his kick saved by Gomis.
Shortly at the other end, Senegal also had a penalty of their own after Ismaila Sarr was brought down in the box. Saivet stepped up and also had his saved.
With the score at 0-0, both teams needed extra time to find a winner. Senegal got it however, after a Saivet freekick was turned into his own net by a Tunisian defender.
That was just about it as Senegal held on to reach their first final since 2002.
We are down to 2 teams with 22 out of the tournament.
Algeria and Senegal set up a final date on Friday in a repeat of their group C group stage clash.
In that game, Belaili scored the winner for Algeria. This one however, has the title on the line and both teams will be looking to give this a go.