Baghdad Bounedjah of Algeria celebrates goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Final match between Senegal and Algeria at Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 19 July 2019 / Photo: Screenshot/CAF TV

Algeria – new champions of African football!

Algeria scored early to beat Senegal to lift their second African Cup of Nations at the grand final of the continental football festival.

Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s (July 20) final in Cairo.

Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.

For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage of the competition, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.

It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi, who’s barely 12 months in charge of a team that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.

It’s by and large an interesting tournament. Nigeria had beaten Tunisia to claim the third place, a sort of consolation for their fans who had hoped they would carry the trophy this year.

Egypt as hosts discharged their duty to the satisfaction of all and African football fans have definitely not been disappointed with the high standard of play during the weeks-long continental contest.

Austin Ohaegbu

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