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Equatorial Guinea stuns Algeria in Douala to end record unbeaten streak

The Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea pulled off an upset of historic proportions with their 1-0 victory over competition favorites Algeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday. Esteban Obiang arrived at the far post to smash in a second-half corner kick from close range, confirming Equatorial Guinea’s qualification for the knockout stages before they finish up Group E play against Sierra Leone. Algeria’s African national team record unbeaten streak ends at 35 games, and they now need a victory against Ivory Coast to advance out of the group.

Another weak start for Algeria once again allowed their opponents to gain confidence and the first half took some time to get going. The only close call to a goal in the first half hour came when Baghdad Bounedjah finished an attacking movement for Algeria but was flagged offside. Equatorial Guinea nearly took a surprise lead towards the end of the half courtesy of Iban Edú, but his rasping left-footed blast went just wide of Raïs M’Bolhi’s goal.

Riyad Mahrez’s quiet tournament is becoming a disturbing theme for the Algerian support with the Fennecs’ attack lacking a cutting edge. The Manchester City playmaker had a good look at the end of the first half on a free kick from just outside the box but sent his strike far off. Edú continued to be the star in attack for the Nzalang Nacional while Obiang seemed to be everywhere breaking up attacks. In the 50th minute, Edú pressed up high to dispossess Algeria in their own half and set up halftime substitute Luis Nlavo, whose shot was saved by M’Bolhi.

The magical moment came for Equatorial Guinea in the 70th minute. A corner kick was met by a flick from Josete Miranda at the near post, and the ball squeezed through to the far post. Obiang charged in and smashed his finish past M’Bolhi to stun the Algerian team and its supporters. Algeria desperately threw numbers forward but the sense of panic led to less efficiency in attack, the best opportunity coming on an 86th minute cross from Youcef Atal that was well broken up by Obiang. Holding off the tournament favorites proved to be easier than anticipated as Equatorial Guinea have now proven their mettle.

Highlights of the match are below.

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