African Cup of Nations: Pépé on target as Ivory Coast dump out holders Algeria

Gambia shock Algeria with late goal as Mali take top spot in Group F

 Ivory Coast midfielder Ibrahim Sangaré celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Group E Africa Cup of Nations match against Algeria at Stade de Japoma in Douala, Cameroon. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Ivory Coast midfielder Ibrahim Sangaré celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Group E Africa Cup of Nations match against Algeria at Stade de Japoma in Douala, Cameroon. Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

 

Arsenal’s Nicolas Pépé scored a superb solo goal as Ivory Coast thumped Algeria 4-1 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.

Franck Kessié, Ibrahim Sangaré and Sebastien Haller 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.

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.

Sierra Leone’s veteran striker Kei Kamara missed a late penalty that scuppered their chances of reaching the next round.

Pablo Ganet’s 38th-minute strike ensured Equatorial Guinea finished second and progressed, but Sierra Leone might have gone through as one of the best third-placed finishers if they had forced a draw.

They were awarded a last-minute penalty, but Kamara’s effort was saved by Equatorial Guinea’s 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesus Owono.

The result also means that the tiny Comoros Island are through as one of the best third-placed finishers after their heroic 3-2 win over Ghana on Tuesday.

Gambia substitute Ablie Jallow scored a stunning goal deep in stoppage-time to earn his team a shock 1-0 win over Tunisia and continue the upset results at the tournament.

His left-foot shot four minutes into added-time flew into the top corner to lift the debutants up to an impressive seven points from their three group matches.

Gambia finished behind Mali in the Group F standings on goal difference with Tunisia third on three.

Avoiding defeat by Tunisia meant Gambia will not face a last-16 clash against Nigeria who will play the Tunisians.

Left back Massadio Haidara’s early goal set Mali on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Mauritania and top spot in the group.

Haidara scored the fastest goal of the tournament as he netted after 92 seconds, before Mali added a second via the penalty spot through striker Ibrahima Kone, who scored for the third game in a row.

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