Sports / Updates
Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 12:01 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
Algeria crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage after failing to win a single game in Gabon. They were held to a 2-2 draw by Group B winners Senegal in a match they had to win to have any chance of avoiding an embarrassing early exit.
Islam Slimani scored both their goals, a two-yard volley and a scuffed effort that wrong-footed Senegal's goalkeeper, but Senegal twice equalized, Papakouly Diop and then Moussa Sow both firing in efforts from the edge of the area.
Algeria went into the tournament as one of the favourites for the trophy but leave with their reputation damaged by three underwhelming performances. After being held to a 2-2 shock draw by Zimbabwe in their opener and then beaten by neighbors Tunisia who booked their quarter-finals with a 4-2 win over Zimbabwe on Monday, Algeria have had a tournament to forget.
Algeria's misery was compounded at the last by the fact they were held by Senegal's second-string side, which featured 10 changes from their last game. Senegal coach Aliou Cisse had taken the opportunity to rest his first-choice players given the Teranga Lions had already won the group ahead of their final fixture.
Cisse will surely be pleased by the resilience of his reserves who fought back to hold their own against a full-strength Algeria and ensure Senegal ended the group stage unbeaten. Algeria might have signed off with a win but Slimani missed a chance to grab his hat-trick and a modicum of consolation when he shot wide when clean though.
Senegal will play Cameroon in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.