Algeria Crowned Champions of the FIFA Arab Cup

Algeria wins in extra time by two goals to nil in the final of the FIFA Arab cup against fellow North African’s Tunisia. Read below our round up of what has been an incredible tournament for the Desert Foxes.

The Arab Cup was hosted by Qatar in their capital city of Doha, in what was a perfect occasion to showcase their stadiums which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Les Verts were placed in group D with bitter rivals Egypt, followed by Lebanon and Sudan. It was a great victory which kick started their Arab Cup campaign against fellow African team Sudan, two goals from Baghdad Bounedjah and one each for Djamel Benlamri and El Arbi Hilal Soudani.

Algeria then went on to confirm their qualification after a hard earned victory against Lebanon, experienced winger Yacine Brahimi gave the lead to his side from the spot kick and a late goal in the dying embers from Tayeb Meziani secured the victory.

The third and final match between Algeria and their historic footballing rivals Egypt was to determine who topped Group D. The youngster Mohamed Amine Tougai gave the Desert Foxes the lead but it was a second half penalty from the captain Amr El Soleya that levelled the match for the Pharaohs. At full-time it was the Egyptians who topped the group despite having the same points and goal difference as Algeria, nonetheless it went down to the FIFA fair play rule, which showed that Algeria finished second after accumulating more cards.

The Desert Foxes then went on to play Neighbours Morocco in the quarter finals, who up to that point had the best attack and defence in the tournament. It was an exciting encounter with tensions flying high, Yacine Brahimi gave the lead to Algeria again from the spot kick in the second half but that was shortly followed after by a goal from Mohamed Nahiri. Both sides were unable to make the difference leading to extra time. It was a stunning goal from Youcef Belaili which gave the Desert Foxes the lead but Morocco answered back with a similar goal to the first as Badr Banoun headed in to equalise the match once more and take it to penalties. It was the Captain Rais M’Bolhi who helped Algeria progress after saving a penalty and Tougai scored the final kick to send Algeria through to face the hosts Qatar.

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 15: Youcef Belaili of Algeria celebrates after scoring a goal during 2021 FIFA Arab Cup semi-final match between Qatar and Algeria at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar on December 15, 2021. (Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

It was a bizarre match against Qatar which saw Algeria book a place in the final after a 2-1 score line. Djamel Benlamri gave the visitors the lead, but the hosts managed to score the equaliser through Mohamed Muntari following a nine minute stoppage time. What made the game bizarre was that the added on minutes managed to add up to 18 minutes after Brahimi won a penalty which Belaili scored to send his side to the final.

And finally we get to the final which was played against Tunisia. As explained before Algeria won 2-0 after extra time. It was a heated encounter which saw substitute Amir Sayoud smash a shot from 30 yards in the 99th minute to lift hopes of lifting the trophy. The game was all over in the 120th minute after a corner kick was cleared away finding Brahimi who ran the full length of the pitch with all the time in the world to tap into an open goal.

It was a challenging but yet a great achievement for the Algeria A team managed by country legend Madjid Bougherra who saw many individual accolades picked up. Skipper Rais M’bolhi earned the golden glove, followed by Belaili earning the silver ball and Brahimi took the golden ball crowning him the best player of the tournament.

The Arab cup was then lifted at the end by M’Bolhi, a great achievement for the country who won the African Cup of Nations back in 2019 and look forward to the next tournament in a months’ time in Cameroon.  

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