Cote d’Ivoire beat Algeria 3-1 to finish top of Group E and eliminate the title holders from the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.
The Elephants produced a dominant performance in Douala to sink the reigning champions with goals from Franck Yannick Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare and Nicolas Pepe.
The Desert Foxes reduced the deficit 17 minutes from through substitute Soufiane Bendebka while captain Riyad Mahrez saw his penalty came of Badra Ali Sangare’s post.
Cote d’Ivoire dominated possession with AC Milan midfielder Kessi, Jean Micheal Seri and young Ibrahima Sangare pulling the strings for Patrice Beaumelle’s side.
The Elephants marauding left back Chislain Konan twice found space inside the Algeria box. Konan beat Algeria’s Atal on the right to play in Pepe whose first time effort missed the target on 7 minutes.
Aissa Mandi latched on to a quickly taken Ismael Bennacer free kick only for Simon Desire to clear for a corner.
The Elephants continue to counter the Desert Foxes with their wide players giving them width as they pushed for the breakthrough.
Kessie broke the deadlock with a clinical strike after an exchange of passes with Pepe to beat Rais Mbolhi and give Cote d’Ivoire the lead on 22 minutes.
Djamel Belmadi’s side responded with chances of their own as they push for the equaliser.
Bennacer had a shot flashed the Elephants goal while Belaili failed to connect to Atal’s inviting diagonal pass into the area.
Ibrahim Sangare doubled the lead for the Elephants with a thumping header past Mbolhi five minutes before the break.
Cote d’Ivoire continued to dominate the second half and they found the third goal on 53 minutes through Pepe.
The winger drifted inside from the right to curled his left footed strike past Mbolhi to make it 3-0.
Algeria were awarded a penalty following a foul on Belaili on 57 minutes. Captain Riyad Mahrez struck the post as Cote d’Ivoire hang on to their three goal advantage.
Substitute Soufiane Bendebka pulled a goal back for the Desert Foxes but it was too late for the 2019 African champions.
The victory confirmed top spot for Cote d’Ivoire ahead of Equatorial Guinea who beat Sierra Leone 1-0 in Limbé to finish second. The Leone Stars finish third with two points and Algeria bottom with a point.