Algeria have beaten Senegal 1-0 to win the 2019 African Cup of Nations trophy.
The Algerians took the lead early in the first half through a fortuitous goal by striker Baghdad Bounedjah.
They then had to withstand an onslaught from the Senegalese for the rest of the match with the Teranga Lions virtually camped in the North Africans’ half.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty when the ball struck an Algerian defender on the arm.
However, that call was overturned after the referee after he reviewed the footage via VAR
Algeria held on to claim the narrow win and, with it, their second African crown, 29 years after they won their first.
This will be seen as a deserved win for Algeria as they remained unbeaten throughout the competition beating Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Nigeria en route to the final.
The only failed to win a game in regulation time in the quarter-final against the Ivory Coast, eventually beating the Ivorians on penalties.
The Algerians also finished as the tournament’s top scorers with 13 goals and the joint-best defence, conceding only two goals along with Senegal.
Heading into the final, the spotlight was on Sadio Mane for Senegal and Riyad Mahrez for Algeria.
However, it was Al Sadd striker Bounedjah who struck first, turning Kouyaté before firing a shot which took a wicked deflection off Sane and crept under the bar and into the net.
Senegal took a while to respond but started offering some attacking threat with Saivet’s free-kick saved by the Algerian keeper.
Mbaye Niang then went close for Senegal, turning and firing just wide from about 20 yards.
A feisty first half ended with a brief confrontation between players of both sides, setting the stage for an epic final 45 minutes.
Senegal unsurprisingly started the half stronger with Benlamri clearing a dangerous shot from Sadio Mane.
The referee pointed to the spot after Sarr’s cross struck Guedioura on the arm but after checking the on-field screen, he decided that the player’s arm was not in an unnatural position.
M’bohli then made a fantastic save from Sabaly’s strike, pushing the shot over the bar.
Niang had another chance to equalise for Senegal but despite rounding the keeper, he shot wide from an angle.
Senegal had one more chance to score from a free-kick 25 yards out but Sane sent his effort straight into the wall.
The referee blew his whistle seconds later, sending the Algerian players, technical team and staff into delirium while Senegal’s contingent have to come to terms with another tournament of disappointment.