Late Mahrez free-kick sends Algeria into CAN 2019 final
A late direct free-kick from Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez was enough to take Algeria through to Friday's CAN 2019 final where they face Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium.
The Super Eagles had managed to claw themselves back into a tie via the penalty spot in a game where they were outclassed by the Desert Foxes for large spells before Real Betis defender Mandi handled in the area after a Etebo speculative drive.
The Zambian match official consulted VAR and it appears that any hand in the area, however innocuous, unintentional etc is now deemed to be worthy of a spot kick. Ighalo dispatched the penalty and gave some hope to a Nigeria side lacking creative sparkle up until that point.
Ultimately, a moment of genius from the City player in time added on at the end of the action was to dictate the outcome with a free-kick that Lionel Messi would have been proud of.
Congratulations to the Desert Foxes of Algeria who advance and commiserations to the Super Eagles who though they'd done enough to take the tie to extra time.
That's it as the whistle sounds. Cruel on the Super Eagles as Algeria progress and will face Senegal on Friday. What a free kick though from the City player... Messi-esque!
Major danger for Nigeria here. This is Mahrez territory ! Set to be the last action of the game... Akpeyi organises the wall... Goal ... Algeria go ahead...
Bennacer almost wins it for Algeria as his ferocious shot rockets off the cross bar. What a let-off for Nigeria there... Algeria pressing now and they win a very dangerous free on the edge of the area.
Just one substitute in the game but a few minutes spent on the VAR check.
4' it will be.
Final minute of regular time. 3-4 minutes set to be added.
Feghoul breaks free with the goal beckoning... The Galatasaray man leans back and fires over. A let off for the Super Eagles there.
Nigeria are certainly a revived side after the Ighalo goal... Algeria have been unable to recover their earlier groove. Henry breaks into the box and drives over. Nigeria actually the side looking most likely to bag a winner now.
Belaili unlucky not to be awarded a free kick after he's fouled with the ball shuttling out of play. Still no changes from the Algeria bench as we head towards the 90' mark.
Mahrez over the ball as Algeria win a free kick. Nice whip on the ball from the Man City man but it's overhit and drifts out for a goal kick.
Ten minutes remain in Cairo... It's the Super Eagles fans now celebrating as Ighalo's spot kick has breathed a new life into the men in green as Iwobi strikes but M'Bolhi reacts well to save. The goal seems to have rocked the Fennecs somewhat.
Henry on with Samu making way. A low key night for the Villarreal man.
Are we on track for extra time?
So, very much against the run of play, Nigeria are handed a lifeline. Can they take advantage and push on for the winner or will Algeria amend their strategy and opt for a more offensive approach ... 15' left of this contest
Ighalo's fouth goal at CAN 2019
Ighalo to take .... and the Shanghai Shenhua striker scores.
Tough decision but at present any handball in the box is being given ..irrespcetive of uintention...natural position...
Mandi carded for the infringement ....
Decision has been made and it's a penalty for Nigeria.
With the new rules ...this is a penalty (albeit a harsh one)... The Zambian ref. consults the monitor....
Call from Nigeria for a penalty after Mani appears to handle the ball. Ref. waves play on and no VAR call.
No changes from either coach as we have 25' left here in Cairo.
Over an hour gone and nothing one would call a clear-cut chance yet to be carved out by Nigeria. A result of impotence and lack of creative spark from the men and green and sterling defensive work from the North Africans.
Dangerous free for Algeria. Bennacer over the ball for the Desert Foxes. The ball eventually breaks to Feghouli who steers the ball wide.
Samu wins a corner for the Super Eagles. First time we've seen the LaLiga star in action this half. M'Bolhi comes and clutches majestically.
Possession on the 60' mark:
- 48% 51%
- 78% 21%
- 78% 21%
- 51% 48%
- 37% 62%
- 50% 50%
- 47% 52%
- 72% 27%
- 30% 69%
- 34% 65%
- 32% 67%
Algeria happy to sit deep and invite pressure from Nigeria. Gernot Rohr's men lacking at present the creative spark to carve through the men in white.
It will take something special from the men in dark green tonight, but as yet we're seeing little promise of special things from the West African team.
The Algeria rear-guard are rock solid ...no wonder that they have just shipped one goal in the entire tournament.
Bounedjah carded and asks for VAR to review the decision ; )
It's Algeria who have started the brighter of both sides in the initial minutes of the second half. The men in white playing in a composed and confident manner. Nigeria seem to be playing with a degree of tension and lack a touch of self belief.
Bennacer leaves the pitch to recieve attention
No changes at the break it would appear for either side...
Nigeria get us underway in Cairo.
The teams make their way back to the Cairo International pitch. 45' of the second semi final remain with Algeria 1-0 ahead.
In case you missed it earlier, Senegal progressed into Friday`s CAN 2019 final after a 1-0 extra time win over Tunisia. The Lions of Teranga now face Algeria-Nigeria at Cairo International on July 19.
More needed from Ighalo,Chukwueze and Iwobi...Nigeria's creative machine!
Algeria started strongly and have taken the contest to Nigeria. Just as it appeared that the Super Eagles were finding a way back into the game, disaster struck as Udinese's Troost-Ekong saw the ball ricochet off his leg and into the net to put the North African side ahead.
The whistle sounds and it's half time in Cairo.
1 minute of time to be added on.
Into the final minute of regular time. Algeria deservedly leading in Cairo and just over 45' away from a final against Senegal.
Unfortunate for Super Eagles but Algeria have been knocking on the door....Less than 5' of the half remaining.
Algeria go ahead in Cairo. Troost-Ekong puts the ball into his won net as the ball deflects off his knee.
Ighalo goes close but fails to get his right footed effort on target. Better now from Nigeria.
Immediately Nigeria break own the other end with Ighalo unable to find Iwobi in the Algeria box.
Algeria almost go ahead as Collins almost fores into his own net ..it was actually a fine clearance but hear in mouth moment for Super Eagles fans
Bounedjah goes to ground in the Nigeria box looking for a spot kick. Nothing doing for the Zambian match official after a session of jostling with Troost-Ekong.
Akpeyi saves Nigeria stopping well as Algeria strike through Bounedjah. Dangerous free for Super Eagles with Chukwueze or Samu as he is known in Spain to take. The Villarreal man fires straight at the Algerian keeper. Poor effort from the young striker.
The Algerian attacking duo of Belaili & Bounedjah look sharp tonight applying pressure on the Nigeria back line and avoiding the ball to move out from the back.
Agree with Colin here, Nigeria have weathered the early storm but are still yet to find a groove or dominate continued spells of possession.
It's the Algeria fans who will be the happier after 22 minutes of action. Raïs M'Bolhi yet to be called into action in the Algeria goal.
Slack defending by Nigeria almost let Belaili through on goal but the men in green manage to salvage the situation. Mahrez already impressing with his distribution.
Nigeria make a foray into the Algeri half and win a corner. On loan at Leganes player Kenneth Omeruo heads over.
Free for Algeria, Bennacer delivers a delightful ball into the box and Bensebaini heads over with the ball going inches over the Nigeria crossbar. Super Eagles living dangerously.
Just the single win for Algeria: 1990
Nigeria have lifted the CAN trophy on three occasions: 1980, 1994 and back in 2013
Clear domination from the men in white.
Algeria lay siege to the Nigeria area with Akpeyi punching the ball back into the danger zone when it appeared easier to catch. Algeria looking sharp here.
Little from Iwobi tonight. The Arsenal player delivered a solid performance against South Africa and a big performance is anticipated from the 23-year-old.
Algeria getting into dangerous positions on both flanks with Belaili and Feghouli looking to cause problems for the Nigerian rear guard.
Algeria almost go ahead with Belaili delivering a dangerous ball into the box and Bounedjah failing to bundle the ball into the net. The flag, however was up but a scare for the Super Eagles.
Algeria possess a stubborn defence with just one goal conceded during the entire tournament (v Ivory Coast in the quarter final)
Neither side able to impose a definitive spell in the opening minutes with plenty of noise being generated by the Algerian fans.
South Africa and Ivory Coast were the opponents for Super Eagles and Desert Foxes in the quarter final stages.
Chukwueze (Villarreal) for Nigeria and Mandi (Betis) for Algeria the LaLiga players starting in Cairo tonight.
Off we go in Cairo....
Many superstitious Super Eagles fans claiming that this dark green away shirt is an unlucky omen.... Despite Algeria being slight favourites, this I feel will be a tight encounter.
National anthem time...Argelia first up followed by that of Nigeria
The teams take to the pitch at the vast Cairo International with a significant number of fans from both nations but swathes of empty seats with local fans losing interest following Egypt's exit last week.
Man City's Mahrez is the source of inspiration for the Desert Foxes.
Villarreal's Chukwueze is the danger man for Nigeria. The 20-year-old striker has looked sharp at this AFCON.
Nigeria midfielders Peter Etebo (46) and Wilfred Ndidi (41) have won possession more times than any other outfield players at the AFCON.
Algeria midfielder Adam Ounas has been involved in a goal every 30 minutes in this year's tournament (three goals, one assist in 121 minutes played), the best ratio in the competition.
Senegal are in the final!
Janny Sikazwe from Zambia is our match official tonight.
Nigeria will play their 14th AFCON semi-final, more than any other team. However, the Super Eagles have qualified for the final only once in their past five semis. It was against Mali in 2013 (a 4-1 win).
Algeria will play their seventh AFCON semi-final, their first since 2010, having qualified only twice in their previous six. Three of their AFCON semis have gone to penalties (winning once in 1980 and losing in 1984 and 1988).
The penalty has not been awarded for Tunisia after a VAR review ! Senegal just 10' away from a place in the final against the winners of our game at the Cairo International.
The other semi-final between Senegal and Tunisia is poised at 1-0 for the Lions from Teranga. Tunisia have just been awarded a spot kick !
A muggy temp. of 31C awaits the players at the Cairo International Stadium.
The Super Eagles will don their darker green away kit tonight
Algeria to wear their traditional home shirt tonight in Cairo.
Algeria and Nigeria will face each other for the ninth time in the AFCON, becoming the most regular encounter in the competition for both teams. The record between them is perfectly balanced, with three wins apiece and two draws.
Nigeria have, for the most part, enjoyed a solid tournament as well, with their only hiccup coming in a surprise 2-0 defeat to minnows Madagascar in the final group match.
Since then the Super Eagles have seen off defending champions Cameroon and South Africa, the conquerors of Egypt - the hosts and one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Nigeria beat Algeria 3-1 and also drew 1-1 with them in World Cup qualifying, but coach Gernot Rohr is adamant the Fennec Foxes are in much better shape now under Belmadi.
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi recognises his team are just two steps from "history" ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final with Nigeria, but reminded his players it will take their very best to lift the trophy.
The Fennec Foxes have been the standout side in the tournament, avoiding a single defeat in their five matches and conceding just once, that goal coming in the 1-1 quarter-final draw with Ivory Coast that they went on to win 4-3 on penalties.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the second semi-final of CAN 2019 as Algeria face Nigeria. Kick-off in Cairo at 21:00 CEST.