AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS Holders Algeria Knocked out as Ivory Coast Book Egypt in Round of 16

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Defending champions Algeria yesterday crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 defeat against Ivory Coast in Douala. The Elephants are to play Egypt’s Pharaohs in Round of 16 on Wednesday.

Needing a win to stay alive, Algeria trailed by two goals at the break after Franke Kessie capped off a fine move and Ibrahim Sangare headed home.

Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe put the Ivorians 3-0 up before Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez hit a penalty against the post.

Algeria, for whom Sofiane Bendebka scored a late consolation, exit bottom of Group E after a torrid campaign.

Djamel Belmadi’s men are the third holders to exit at the first hurdle in the past five Nations Cup finals.

Their departure from the competition is in marked contrast to their entry, travelling to Cameroon on a 34-match unbeaten run and looking to surpass Italy’s all-time record of 37.

The Algerians had drawn 0-0 with Sierra Leone before a 1-0 defeat by Equatorial Guinea, and leave with just one point from three games – but did at least finally get on the scoresheet in Cameroon when substitute Bendebka’s late goal inspired a brief rally.

Ivory Coast’s Elephants topped the group to line up a mouth-watering last-16 match with Egypt, scheduled for Douala on Wednesday, 26 January.

Elsewhere, Equatorial Guinea reached the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Sierra Leone 1-0 – a result which eliminated the Leone Stars.

Midfielder Pablo Ganet curled in from the edge of the area to net the only goal seven minutes before the break.

Sierra Leone had needed a point to progress, but veteran striker Kei Kamara saw an 84th-minute penalty saved by Jesus Owono.

The Equatoguineans finish second in Group E behind Ivory Coast.

Juan Micha’s side will now face the winner of Group F – any one of The Gambia, Mali and Tunisia – on Wednesday, 26 January.