Algeria won the Africa Cup of Nations for the second time on Friday night with a 1-0 win over Senegal in the final in Egypt.
Baghdad Bounedjah scored the only goal in the second minute with a shot which took a wicked deflection off Salif Sane and looped into the net, past Alfred Gomis.
Sane was only playing due to the suspension of Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, one of the world’s best defenders.
Algeria had already beaten Senegal during the group stage of the competition, and victory never looked in doubt from the moment they went ahead, with Sadio Mane and co. unable to ever test Rais M’Bolhi throughout.
Algeria sat back and the first half turned into a scrappy, bad-tempered affair; Senegal won a number of set-pieces in dangerous areas, but the delivery was largely dire.
At the other end, Riyad Mahrez and co had less of the ball, but always looked more dangerous with their direct counter attacks.
The Lions of Teranga thought they had been awarded a chance to equalise in the second period, when the referee awarded handball against Adlene Guedioura. However, after checking with VAR, Neant Alioum reversed his decision.
Liverpool ace Mane became more influential, but no chances came his way, with Senegal’s best opportunity falling to Ismaila Sarr, only for the Rennes winger to fire a volley well over the crossbar from 15 yards.
Algeria rode their luck at times, but also showed an elite level of gamesmanship to wind down the clock.