Ivory Coast send Algeria crashing out

African Football

Mali 2-0 Mauritania

Mali booked their spot in the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages after finishing top of Group F with a 2-0 win over Mauritania at Japoma Stadium.

The Eagles made three changes to the side that was held by Gambia, as Turkey based midfielder Adama Traore, RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Haidara and France-based midfielder Moussa Doumbia were all recalled.

Mali had a perfect start after Massadio Haidara gave them the lead within two minutes with a close-range finish after a lay-off by Doumbia.

Mohamed Magassouba's charges had another dream start in the second stanza after they were awarded a penalty four minutes from the half-time break for a foul on Doumbia in the box and Ibrahima Kone converted the spot-kick to double their lead.

The Eagles closed shop after that, as they secured passage into the last 16 as group winners while Mauritania crashed out without points on the board.

Gambia 1-0 Tunisia

Tunisia qualified for the round of 16 by the skin of their teeth despite a last-gasp 1-0 defeat to Gambia, who clinched second spot.

The Eagles of Carthage had 12 players ruled out due to Covid-19, including Wabhi Khazri among the players missing.

Tunisia were awarded a penalty late in the first half after Seifeddine Jaziri was brought down in the box. Jariri stepped up to take the spot-kick but his effort from 12-yards was saved by goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye.

The early stages of the second stanza were also tight but Ibou Touray came close to breaking the deadlock for the Scorpions in the last quarter of an hour with a brilliant free-kick that came off the post.

Albie Jallow eventually snatched the winner for Gambia in stoppage time with a strike into the top corner, as the Scorpions qualified as runner-up in the group while Tunisia finished in third place and qualified as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Ivory Coast 3-1 Algeria

Defending champions Algeria bowed out of the tournament in the group stages after they were hammered 3-1 by Ivory Coast at Japoma Stadium, with South African referee Victor Gomes officiating.

The Elephants made a couple of changes to the side that was held by Sierra Leone in a four-goal thriller, as Max Gradel replaced Crystal Palace star forward Wilfried Zaha in attack while the Desert Foxes recalled West Ham United midfielder Mohamed Benrahma.

Côte d'Ivoire broke the deadlock midway through the first stanza after Franck Kessie placed a shot into the bottom corner from Nicolas Pepe's pass.

Ibrahim Sangare gave Patrice Beaumelle's charges a two-goal cushion just before the half-time break with a close-range header after a free-kick by Serge Aurier.

Ivory Coast had a good start in the second stanza, as Pepe gave them a commanding 3-0 lead nine minutes from the half-time break with a strike in the box after he was teed up by Sebastien Haller.

Algeria were handed a lifeline with a penalty on the hour-mark after Youcef Belaili was brought down in the box but Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez hit the post with a left-footed strike.

The Desert Foxes pulled a goal back 17 minutes before time after Sofiane Bendebka converted Aissa Mandi's cross with a header.

Haller had a goal for Ivory Coast in stoppage time from a header disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for offside, as the Elephants finished top of Group E while Algeria crashed out after finishing bottom with only one point.

Sierra Leone 0-1 Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea qualified for the knockout stages after edging Sierra Leone 1-0 in the final group game at Limbe Stadium.

The Nzalang Nacional had a bright start, but had to wait until seven minutes before the break to find the opening goal through Iban Salvador with a strike from the edge of the box.

The Leone Stars got a wake-up call and Kei Kamara came close to snatching the equaliser on the stroke of halftime with a glancing header from close range that was brilliantly saved by Owono.

Sierra Leone had a big chance to equalise from the penalty spot five minutes before time after Issa Kallon was fouled in the box but Kei Kamara's spot-kick was saved by Owono.

There was drama towards the end as Sierra Leone's Kwame Quee was shown a red card in the last minute for a bad tackle, as Leone finished third in Group E, while Equatorial Guinea qualified for the knockout stages after finishing second.

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