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Algeria defeat Tunisia to win 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, Egypt finishes fourth following loss to Qatar

After a 0-0 stalemate in regulation, Algeria scored two goals in extra time to top North African rivals Tunisia and capture the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup on Saturday. Amir Sayoud’s strike in the 99th minute gave the Fennecs the lead before Yacine Brahimi tapped into an empty net in the final seconds to finish off the victory as Algeria continues their lengthy unbeaten run heading into the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. In the day’s earlier match, Egypt were defeated by Qatar in the third place match via a penalty kick shootout to end the competition on a positive note for the hosts.

Matchups between North African teams are always battles with plenty at stake, and Saturday’s final did not deviate from the theme. Both teams had opportunities to obtain a first half lead before the match settled into an even affair that seemed destined for extra time. In the 14th minute, a Naïm Sliti free kick from the right wing found Tunisia central defender Bilel Ifa at the far post, but the Club Africain player’s header bounced back off the crossbar before being cleared. Just after the twenty minute mark, Algeria’s Tayeb Meziani was all set up to open the scoring from a Baghdad Bounedjah cross, but somehow put his finish wide with the Tunisian goal at his mercy.

Few shots on goal followed after the early chances, and the opposing defenses came out on top for the remainder of regulation. Tournament top scorer Seifeddine Jaziri had a great look in last moments of the second half to win it for Tunisia, but his well hit shot went wide of goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi’s near post. Jaziri and Tunisia would pay dearly for missing their shot, because in the first half of extra time, Algeria found a moment of inspiration to take the lead. Substitute Amir Sayoud received a clever flick from Bounedjah and had plenty of room to fire from 20 yards out, striking the ball perfectly past a helpless Mouez Hassan in the Tunisian goal.

Tunisia nearly equalized in similar circumstances in the 111th minute when Jaziri left the ball off for substitute Firas Ben Larbi, but the Emirati-based forward sent his shot past M’Bolhi and just wide of the far post. With Tunisia throwing everything forward, it was Algeria who found the late goal to seal the victory. On a corner kick in stoppage time of the second half of extra time, Algerian center back Djamel Benlamri cleared the ball out to Brahimi, who collected the ball in midfield with no Tunisian goalkeeper or defender between him and the goal, allowing the tournament’s Golden Ball recipient to dribble in and tap into an empty net for the celebrations to ensue.

In the earlier third place match, Egypt dominated throughout the ninety minutes but could not find a goal in a 0-0 draw against hosts Qatar, whose goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham became the hero following a penalty shootout victory. In the shootout, Qatari veteran attacker Hassan Al Haydos missed the team’s opening penalty kick, but the rest of Qatar’s takers converted as Ahmed Hegazy and Mohamed Sherif failed to convert their spot kicks for Egypt. Barsham came up with a clutch save on Sherif to win the match for the hosts and send the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium into celebration for a positive result obtained by the hosts.

Highlights of both games are in the links below.

Final: Algeria 2-0 Tunisia
3rd Place Game: Egypt 0-0 Qatar (Qatar wins on PK’s)


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