AFCON Daily: Senegal and Algeria to clash in finals [Episode 14]
Unprecedented and dramatic scenes from Egypt as Riyad Mahrez’s last kick of the ball sends Algeria into the finals while a costly own goal from Tunisian defender propelled Senegal into the finals. Senegal and Algeria will face off in the final of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after beating Tunisia and Nigeria respectively in their semi-final matches on Sunday. The Teranga Lions of Senegal justified their pre-tournament tag as favourites to qualify for their second Africa Cup of Nations final in 17 years. An own goal by Tunisian defender Dylan Bronn was all what Senegal needed in the first half of extra time to reach the final which they will attempt to win the nations cup at the second time of asking after coming up short on penalties to Cameroon in the 2002 edition in Mali. Senegal’s qualification into the final was marred by controversy as the Tunisians felt they deserved a penalty late in the second half of extra time after what appeared to be a hand ball in the Senegalese penalty box but Ethiopian referee, Bamlak Tessema after consulting the VAR system declined to award a penalty to the North Africans. The Senegal and Tunisia game was full of action, as both nations missed penalty kicks in a space of five minutes. In the day’s second semi-final game, Algeria qualified for their third Africa Cup of Nations final after beating the Super Eagles of Nigeria two goals to one in Cairo. A moment of brilliance from Riyad Mahrez in added time ensured the desert foxes were not going to play 30 minutes of extra time. Algeria’s all important goal came courtesy of an own goal by Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong in the 40 th minute of the first half against the run of play. The Super Eagles thought they were going to play another 30 minutes of added time but Mahrez and co had other ideas. Nigeria equalized in the 73 rd minute through striker Odion Ighalo from the spot kick following a VAR review by Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama. The bronze medal game which involves the two losing semi-finalists Tunisia and Nigeria will take place on Wednesday at 7 pm GMT while the final between the Teranga Lions of Senegal and the Desert foxes of Algeria takes place on Friday at 7 pm GMT. @philemonmbale