The Teranga lions of Senegal have edged Les Fennecs of Algeria 5#4 on penalties, to win their first ever African Nations championship (CHAN).
This following the final that was played on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers.
Senegal needed penalties to spoil the host’s party, after both sides failed to break the deadluck after 120 minutes.
It was a tough battle between two sides that have impressed since the start of the competition on January 13.
Coach Madjid Bougherra’s Atlas Lions have won all their five previous games coming into the finals, but had in front of them a Pape Thiaw’s side that has grown in confidence as the competition went on.
With the home crowd at the Nelson Mandela Stadium cheering, Les Fennecs had a slight dominance of the opening half an hour, but their mask man Aymen Mahious who had scored five times on their way to the final, was put under lock and key by the Senegalese defence.
Senegal’s midfielder Lamine Camara and Algeria’s Mezaine Ben Tahar, were the first to be booked after an altercation in the first half.
Senegal stepped up momentum as the game went on, with Cheikh Sidibe’s free kick going off the wall, before Moussa Ndiaye’s long range effort was well delt with by goalkeeper Alexis Guendoz.
Sidibe’s foul on Mezziane gifted Algeria a free kick on the edge of the box shortly before the break, but goalkeeper Pape Sy pushed the resulting kick off target.
Algeria regrouped in the second half, but the Teranga lions stayed put and exploited with counter attacks. Pape Dillo’s in one of such moves skied a promising move from the Senegalese.
Both Madjid Bougherra and Pape Thiaw turned to their bench for fresh blood, but there was nothing to separate both sides at the end of regulation time.
Aymen Mahious had the best chance of the first half of extra time, but goalkeeper Pape Sy made a good save to deny the Algerians late on.
Senegal’s Mamadou Sane made a clumsy tackle in an attempt to stop an Algerian attack, short before Mahious was booked for disent.
There was still no goal to separate both sides after 120 minutes played, pushing the game to penalty shootout.
Pape Sy came off his line to save Akram Djahnit’s penalty, but the later scored the retake.
Captain Cheikhou Ndiaye hit the cross bar, before the competition’s top scorer Aymen Mahious passed his penalty to goalkeeper Sy, before Ahmed Kendouci hit the woodworks as Senegal won 5#4.
Senegal therefore becomes the fifth Nation to win the African Nations Championship, also also becomes the first Nation to win a continental treble. Pape Thiaw’s team was only making a comeback at continental scene after 12, as they have missed the last four editions of the competition.
Prior to Saturday’s final, Senegal were the reigning champions in the African Nations Cup and the African Beach Soccer Nations Cup and have now added another feather.
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