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Thursday, September 28, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying: Algeria defeat Niger in Tunis, clinch qualification to the finals

Algeria are still perfect in Group F of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying and secured their ticket to the finals in Ivory Coast following Monday’s 1-0 victory over Niger in the Tunisian capital of Tunis. Baghdad Bounedjah received an assist from Riyad Mahrez before finishing for the game’s only goal early on, giving the Fennecs four wins from their four matches in Group F. Niger remain on two points and are two points behind second placed Tanzania with important fixtures against the Taifa Stars and Uganda remaining.

In a reverse of the clash between the teams last week, Algeria were the team who got off to an excellent start and opened the scoring early on. A header from Andy Delort found Mahrez outside the Nigerien penalty area and the Manchester City playmaker’s pass was perfect touch into the path of Bounedjah, who continued his renaissance with the national selection by finishing past Niger goalkeeper Mahamadou Tanja.

Niger, forced to host the home fixture in Tunisia due to lacking a stadium approved by CAF, struggled to catch Algeria on the break like they did last week in Algiers. The Fennecs maintained an iron grip on the lead and held the Ménas to only one shot on target.

Algeria should have doubled the lead in the 54th minute after Farès Chaïbi turned in a cross but he was ruled offsides, a decision that appeared to be incorrect on the replay. The hosts managed to create some danger for the Algerian defense in the final moments when a foul outside the penalty area gave Victorien Adebayor a free kick but the RS Berkane forward sent his attempt far off target to prompt the full time whistle.

Highlights from the match are below.