Algeria was eliminated from the 2023 African Cup of Nations, after defeating Mauritania for the first time ever in an African tournament, 0-1. Mauritania advanced to the round of 16 in the tournament, at the end of the fourth group matches.
Mauritanian centre-back Mohamed Delahi Yali scored the winning goal at the end of the first half, in a huge and shocking surprise for the Desert Warriors, two-time African champions, who were unable to adjust the score and achieve a draw throughout the second half, at the Al Salam Stadium in Bouaké, Ivory Coast.
Algeria, the champion of the 2019 edition, came in last place in its group, exiting the group stage for the second edition in a row, while Mauritania will certainly rise as one of the best teams in third place, while Angola topped the group and Burkina Faso came in second place.
In the next round, Mauritania, or the Almoravids team, will face Cape Verde, the surprise team of Group Two, which topped the group at the expense of Egypt and Ghana, at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Monday (5pm GMT).
Ghana, the previous winner of the African Championship, was eliminated from the group stage earlier on Tuesday, after achieving only two points and unable to qualify even among the best 4 third-placed teams.
Mauritania punishes Algeria
Algeria had tied in its first two matches with Angola and Burkina Faso, and the Desert Warriors believed that another draw with Mauritania would guarantee qualification because the point would place them among the top four third-placed teams.
But Mauritania punished Algeria and was more powerful and effective in the match and played for a win, not a draw, and they actually scored their goal at the end of the first half.
The exciting performance of the Almoravids continued in the second half and they were able to expand the gap with Algeria, wasting a number of opportunities and repelling counterattacks well.
Algeria failed to equalize, despite the referee granting 11 minutes of stoppage time in the second half, and despite the many chances created by Riyad Mahrez, the former Manchester City star, after coming on as a substitute in the first half, they did not change the result.
Mauritania’s victory represents another major victory for coach Amir Abdou, who was in charge of the Comoros national team when it reached the round of 16 in its first appearance in the 2021 finals before losing to host Cameroon.