Algerians beat Senegal 2-0 in Malabo thanks to a goal in each half from Premier League stars Riyad Mahrez and Nabil Bentaleb to go through in second place at the expense of the Lions of Teranga.
Algeria also had to win against Senegal to be sure of going through and Christian Gourcuff’s team were on their way when Leicester City winger Mahrez slotted home on 11 minutes.
At 1-0, both sides were going through until events of the final 10 minutes in Equatorial Guinea. First, Sofiane Feghouli set up Bentaleb to lash home and put Algeria 2-0 up, and then Ghana’s winning goal in the other game condemned Senegal to an early exit.
“It was an excessively difficult game physically. The ball was almost always in the air, which is not an advantage for us,” said Algeria coach Gourcuff, who is now looking forward to a quarter-final tie this weekend.
“It was not easy to get out of this group. We don’t choose our opponents. Of course we’ll follow the games with lots of interest tomorrow (Wednesday) and we’ll see what happens,” he added.
However, Senegal coach Alain Giresse was not able to praise his side, who came up short despite only requiring a draw to progress.
And as the Lions of Teranga were left to contemplate another failed attempt to finally get their hands on the continental trophy, Giresse was urged to step down by the Senegalese media.
“My contract has finished,” he reminded them. “The road ends here for Senegal. There will be a lot of changes in and around the team. What happens next I don’t know, but I know what I am going to do.”