Algeria set up Nigeria CAN semis post shoot-out win - GulfToday

Algeria set up Nigeria CAN semis post shoot-out win

Sofiane-Feghouli

Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli (centre) celebrates after scoring against Ivory Coast during their CAN quarter-final match in Suez on Thursday. Reuters

Algeria booked an Africa Cup of Nations semi-final with Nigeria after battling past Ivory Coast on penalties. Sofiane Feghouli broke the deadlock in the first half for Algeria ahead after Baghdad Bounedjah squared it to the Galatasaray midfielder.

After the break, Bounedjah hit the bar from the spot after earning Algeria a penalty, and they were made to pay just after the hour-mark when the Ivory Coast equalised through Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia, who rode a tackle before firing a superb effort into the far corner.

The match ultimately went the distance, and after five perfect penalties, Wilfried Bony saw his penalty saved by Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi, and though Youcef Belaili could only hit the post with Algeria’s fifth penalty, Serey Die did likewise to send the Ivory Coast packing.

Earlier, William Troost-Ekong described as a “dream moment” his late goal that gave Nigeria a 2-1 win over South Africa on Wednesday and a spot in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

The centre-back knocked home a corner in the 89th minute in Cairo as Nigeria advanced to the last four of the competition for the 15th time in 18 appearances.

“I dream about moments like this. To score and for it to be important for the team is amazing,” said Troost-Ekong.

“It’s not my job to score, I’m a defender so I was happy we didn’t give away too many chances. After they scored from a set-piece I thought that I wanted revenge.

“We were confident we could score again. We didn’t want to go to extra time because we were going to be tired but I think it was the same for South Africa.”

“I think every game is tough now. We’ve seen big teams lose and go out of the tournament so it’s going to be difficult whoever we face,” said Troost-Ekong.

“We came here to try and win the trophy.”

Earlier, it was a tense 2-1 victory that Algeria notched up over South Africa.

Samuel Chukwueze fired the Super Eagles ahead in the first half in front of a healthy, largely pro-Nigerian crowd at the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium.

But Bongani Zungu’s looping header brought South Africa level on 70 minutes, the goal awarded with the aid of VAR -- introduced for the first time at the tournament from the quarter-final stage onwards -- after it was initially ruled out for offside.

Centre-back Troost-Ekong then turned home at a corner a minute from time to set three-time champions Nigeria up with a clash against Algeria or Ivory Coast for a spot in the July 19 final.

“We were lucky in the end to score this second goal because in the second half South Africa played much better,” said Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr.

“We’re happy, we have to recover well because the next game, either Algeria or Ivory Coast will be very difficult also.”

South Africa boss Stuart Baxter admitted the nature of the defeat was tough to digest.

“It’s difficult when you’ve lost a game in the dying minutes, it’s difficult to find positives. I’m sure in one week’s time I will find some positives, but at this moment I’m finding it very difficult,” he said.

Left-back Jamilu Collins made his first appearance in Egypt after shaking off a pre-tournament injury while Villarreal forward Chukwueze came in for Moses Simon in the Nigerian attack.

Baxter stuck with the same side that shocked hosts Egypt in the last round, as match-winner Thembinkosi Lorch retained his place despite Themba Zwane’s return from suspension.

Rohr had suggested South Africa were favourites in the build-up following their defeat of the record seven-time champions, a tag Baxter promptly rejected with Bafana Bafana’s lone competitive win over Nigeria coming in qualifying for these finals.

Left-back Jamilu Collins made his first appearance in Egypt after shaking off a pre-tournament injury while Villarreal forward Chukwueze came in for Moses Simon in the Nigerian attack.

Baxter stuck with the same side that shocked hosts Egypt in the last round, as match-winner Thembinkosi Lorch retained his place despite Themba Zwane’s return from suspension.

Agence France-Presse

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