Nicolas Pepe scored a superb solo goal as Ivory Coast beat Algeria 3-1 to send the defending champions crashing out of the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Thursday following a disastrous Group E campaign.
Algeria’s 35-game unbeaten run was ended by Equatorial Guinea in a stunning upset in their last match, and they were outplayed again by the impressive Ivorians, who might have had more goals with better finishing.
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Franck Kessie and Ibrahim Sangare also scored to seal top spot in the pool with seven points. They are joined in the second round by Equatorial Guinea (six points), whose 1-0 victory over Sierra Leone eliminated the latter.
Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty for Algeria, but Sofiane Bendebka grabbed a consolation as history repeated itself.
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When they won their only other Cup of Nations title in 1990, Algeria also exited in the first round of the next tournament after a 3-0 loss to the Ivorians, who went on to lift the trophy.
Photo Credit: Getty