Two-time champions La Cote d’Ivoire were on Thursday knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations by Algeria’s Desert Foxes in a 4-3 penalty shootout, following a 1-1 quarter-final game that went into extra time.
The match, played at the Suez Stadium in Suez, was to determine the opponent of Nigeria in Sunday’s semi-finals.
By the qualification, Algeria are going into the semi-finals as the strongest side as they are yet to lose a game in the Cup of Nations.
It was a clash of the tournament’s favourites as many pundits believe the winner of the penultimate quarter-final match could produce the eventual champions.
Algeria have proven to be a tough nut to crack as they were yet to concede in the tournament.
They had also scored more goals than any other in the tourney.
Truly, they broke the deadlock in the 20th minute after Sofiane Feghouli beat Sylvain Gbohouo in post for the Ivorians.
The TP Mazembe shot stopper later went into the books of Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema in what was adjudged by the video assistant referee (VAR) as a penalty.
The opportunity to extend their lead was, however, fluffed by the Algerians as the ball hit the bar.
The Ivorians came from the break a much stronger side and pulled the needed equaliser as Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia squeezed his shot between four legs to beat goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi.
As the scores remained 1-1 still after extra-time, the match was decided on penalties.
The Foxes won 4-3, progressing to face the Super Eagles for a place in the final.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh |3news.com|Ghana