A 2-0 win for the Sable Antelopes means that Angola tops the group, but the Burkinabé Stallions are still through to the knockouts in second place.
In the even more sensational result in the concurrent match, the West Saharan nation of Mauritania picked some night to make history. The Lions of Chinguetti won their first ever match in the three AFCONs in which they’ve participated. The 105th-ranked nation in the World FIFA rankings upset the 2019 continental champions 1-0.
For the second consecutive tournament since winning the title, Algeria have failed in the group phase. Eintracht Frankfurt attacking midfielder Fares Chaibi and Borussia Dortmund left-back Ramy Bensebaini are both headed back to Germany in time for the weekend set of Bundesliga fixtures.
Belmadi had to do without Borussia Dortmund defender Ramy Bensebaini due to a suspension incurred in the Burkina Faso fixture. Eintracht Frankfurt’s Fares Chaibi – who started the first match and worked off the bench in the second – remained unused this time. Former Schalke problem child Nabil Bentaleb was also benched this time, but did log some late minutes as a sub.
A 37th-minute goal from Mauritanian defender Mohamed Dellahi gave the underdogs a 1-0 lead; one that they would resolutely defend for the rest of a long match that even featured 13 minutes of second half added stoppage time. Some late looks at an equalizer kept the affair exciting right up to the finish but the 1-0 scoreline held. Scenes at theStade de la Paix were surreal as neither players nor supporters could fully grasp what transpired
In what was not an insignificant upset in Group D’s other simultaneous kickoff, the southwest African nation of Angola topped a favored Burkina Faso side 2-0. Leverkusen center back Edmond Tapsoba started and found himself on the losing side of proceedings despite an exceptionally strong match that saw him get accrue over 70 touches, engage in 20 air/ground duels, and even get three efforts on targets.
Tapsoba and the Burkinabé Stallions will nevertheless not be terribly disappointed as the result still enables them to advance as group runners up. Mauritania themselves progress as they now slide in behind Serhou Guirassy’s Guinea as the tourney’s second-best performing third-place side. Group stage play in the 2023 AFCON concludes tomorrow.
Hope still floats for under-fire hosts Cote d’Ivoire, though the Mauritanian upset doesn’t help Les Elephants. Mauritania’s upset win over Algeria merely means that one of the countries with overtake potential replaced another. The Ivorian still need all four remaining fixtures to break precisely their way in order to stay alive.