Algeria claims second Afcon title after Bounedjah’s lucky strike sinks Senegal
The record books may not show exactly how Algeria won their first Africa Cup of Nations since 1990 and, in any case, it is probably best left to the imagination. Their performances over the past month merit the accolade and that much cannot be denied; the pity was that they dropped any pretensions towards making this final a footballing spectacle after going ahead through Baghdad Bounedjah’s heavily deflected early goal, the result being a tedious encounter that grabbed the attention only during those few episodes when it seemed Senegal might punish their voracious lust for attrition.
It all amounted to a colossal riding of their luck but also a personal triumph for Djamel Belmadi, their impressive coach, who took the job only last August but has delivered a continental title where none was expected. He celebrated with his players, who raced towards a delirious 15,000-strong travelling support at full-time, while his childhood friend Aliou Cissé held a lengthy on-pitch debrief after narrowly failing to deliver Senegal a first title of their own.