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Mauritania served up another shock result at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals to dump 2019 winners Algeria out of the tournament with a 1-0 victory and seal a historic place in the last-16 at the Stade de la Paix on Tuesday.

Mauritania had never led in any of its previous eight matches at the continental finals, let alone won a game, but a first-half goal from Yali Dellahi was enough to send Algeria packing in a second successive embarrassing early exit for coach Djamel Belmadi’s side after a similar failure in 2021.

Angola took the top spot in Group D with seven points from three games followed by Burkina Faso (four), who they beat 2-0. Mauritania (three) will be among the four best third-placed sides and earn a knockout spot. Algeria ends fourth (two).

Algeria looked a shadow of the side that lifted the trophy in Egypt in 2019. It dropped captain Riyad Mahrez to the bench against Mauritania but brought him on at halftime in a desperate bid to reverse its fortunes that proved fruitless in the end.

AFCON 2024: Mauritania claims historic win to dump Algeria out

Algeria’s forward Baghdad Bounedjah reacts after exiting AFCON 2024.
| Photo Credit:
AFP

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Algeria’s forward Baghdad Bounedjah reacts after exiting AFCON 2024.
| Photo Credit:
AFP

Mauritania took the lead in the 37th minute after a poor clearance from Algeria defender Mohamed Amine Tougai fell to Dellahi in the box and his shot beat goalkeeper Anthony Mandrea and crept in off the post.

It should have been 2-0 when Aboubakary Koita went on a mazy run in the second half and worked space for a shot but his effort was wild and spoiled what would have been one of the goals of the tournament.

Mauritania keeper Babacar Niasse then produced a superb save to keep out Hicham Boudaoui’s bullet header before he managed an even better reflex stop to deny Aissa Mandi from close range.

As Algeria pushed forward in search of an equaliser, it inevitably left gaps at the back and substitute Pape Ibnou Ba should have added a second for Mauritania late on but somehow missed the target from close range.

It was instead forced to survive 11 tense minutes of added time before being able to celebrate victory.



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