By Clarkson Ogo, Sports Editor
Algeria won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after beating Senegal 1-0 in the final at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt on Friday night.
As a result, the Desert Foxes clinched their second AFCON title having won their first trophy in 1990.
The Desert Foxes got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock two minutes into the game through Baghdad Bounedja’s deflected goal.
The Qatar-based marksman’s strike from outside the box took a big deflection off Salif Sane and sailed into the far corner to make it 1-0 to Algeria.
The Lions of Teranga then took control of the match, but they struggled to penetrate the Algerian defence which was marshaled by Djamel Benlamri.
Henri Saivet tried to beat Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi at the near-post with a free-kick, but the latter was well-positioned to make a save just before the half-hour mark.
Saivet’s Senegal teammate Mbaye Niang also tried his luck from in the range in the 38th minute and his volley sailed inches wide of the target with Mbolhi well-beaten.
The score was 1-0 to Algeria at half-time with Senegal having dominated the first-half, but they could not find the back of the net.
The Lions of Teranga piled pressure on the Desert Foxes defence in the early stages of the second-half and they were awarded a penalty after Adlene Guedioura was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
However, Cameroonian match referee Neant Alioum decided against awarding a penalty after checking Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
Mbolhi was then called into action in the 69th minute and he pulled off a great save to deny Youssouf Sabaly, whose powerful long-range shot was heading for the top corner.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse introduced striker Mbaye Diagne in the closing stages of the game as the Lions of Teranga searched for a late equalizing goal.
However, Algeria stood firm at the back in the dying minutes of the match and ultimately, they ran out 1-0 winners over Senegal.