Senegal’s 2-2 draw with Algeria in Franceville last night to ensure the Teranga Lions ended unbeaten at the top of Group B.
The result, combined with Tunisia’s victory over Zimbabwe in a concurrent match, saw Algeria eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations after claiming just two points from their three matches.
Senegal, who finished top of the group with seven points, will face Cameroon in their quarterfinal in Franceville on Saturday, while runners-up Tunisia will face Burkina Faso in Libreville earlier in the day.
After a scrappy opening period, Algeria claimed the lead in the 10th minute when Sofiane Hanni broke free down the left and teed up strike partner Islam Slimani to score from close range.
Just before the midway point of the first half, a much-changed Senegal created a great chance for an equaliser when Moussa Konate played in his namesake Moussa Sow, but the striker was unable to round goalkeeper Malik Asselah.
As news of Tunisia’s dominance of the other group game filtered through, Algeria began to lose their discipline and it was no surprise when Senegal equalised late in the first half through a skidding volley from Papakouli Diop to leave the game locked at 1-1 heading into the break.
The Fennec Foxes regrouped early in the second half and reclaimed the advantage in the 52nd minute when Riyad Mahrez teed up Slimani to score with a sliced shot which only just travelled across the goal line.
Yet Algeria’s lead lasted less than a minute, with a powerful run from Ismaila Sarr ending with Moussa Sow cracking home a low shot to make it 2-2 and peg the North Africans back for a second time.
Algeria should have reclaimed the lead – and Slimani brought up his hat-trick – when the striker was put clean through on goal in the 77th minute, but with only goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye to beat he shot wide of the target.