Riyad Mahrez scored the pick of the goals as Algeria cruised past Guinea 3-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
The teams were playing for the chance to meet Madagascar in last eight, and Algeria were almost immediately on the back foot after Rais M'bolhi invited trouble as he dithered over a clearance. Minutes later, Jose Kante may have had a penalty after being caught by Djamel Benlamri.
However, it was Algeria who grew into the match and ultimately took the lead when Youcef Belaili played a neat one-two with Baghdad Bounedjah before curling into the far post.
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In the second half, Mahrez doubled his side’s lead with an excellent piece of control before a ruthless finish.
Guinea’s confidence, already low after their initial bright start, fell to bits and for a while Algeria looked set to instigate a rout on their opponents. Adam Ounas duly added a third for the game, and the third of his tournament.
That allowed Algeria to play out an easy ending to the game, and they will consider themselves heavy favourites in the quarter-final, and perhaps the whole tournament.
The tournament needs the introduction of VAR. The game today could have had two penalties awarded in the early stages, the first goal might have been disallowed for a foul through, and Algeria could have had a second-half penalty. All of these were essentially non-events, with little protest, because there is not yet recourse to VAR, but its introduction could turn games on their head.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Riyad Mahrez (Algeria): Mahrez is now the best player at the tournament following the exit of Mo Salah, but he is certainly being used the best out of the pair of them. His presence on the wing allows him to provide assists and a goalscoring threat - that sealed victory for the team today.
Algeria: M'bolhi 5, Benlamri 6, Mandi 6, Bensebaini 6, Atal 6, Guedioura 6, Bennacer 6, Feghouli 6, Belaili 7, Mahrez 8, Bounedjah 6. Subs: Boudaoui 6, Ounas 7, Delort 6.
Guinea: Kone 6, Sylla 6, Falette 5, Seka 5, Dyrestam 5, Cisse 5, Diawara 5, Camara 6, Traore 5, Yattara 5, Kante 6. Subs: Koita 6, Bangoura 6, Kamano 6.
11’ - PENALTY APPEAL - Kante has been caught again in the head, and he's gone down in real pain. Benlamri really caught him in the temple, in the penalty box. That should be a penalty, and Guinea have been harshly done by twice so far.
20’ - BOUNEDJAH MISS - A dreadful miss. Bounedjah is picked out at the back post, he chests it down, and with only the 'keeper to beat just six yards out, he slaps the ball over the bar
24’ - GOAL! Algeria 1-0 Guinea. Belaili scores - Belaili plays a ball into the box, he receives a lay-off from Bounedjah into his path, and curls a shot past Kone to the far post to put his side ahead.
55’ - CAMARA SHOT - Camara looks up, has room for a shot 25 yards out, and angles a shot at the top near corner that has to be beaten away and over. That was moving at a dangerous pace.
57’ - GOAL! Algeria 2-0 Guinea. Mahrez scores - He brings down a cross from the left, taking Sylla out of the game, and sending the 'keeper the wrong way, he drills a shot into the corner.
83’ - GOAL! Algeria 3-0 Guinea. Ounas scores - A first time pass from the right runs into the path of Ounas, who sticks out a leg to send it past a wrong-footed 'keeper.
Algeria are yet to concede a goal this tournament.
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