Substitute Hameur Bouazza scored the decisive goal two minutes into extra-time
as Algeria dumped pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast out of the African
Nations Cup with a dramatic victory in Cabinda.
In what was an impressive display by Rabah Saadane's team, they were twice
forced to come from behind having trailed to a Salomon Kalou strike and then a
Kader Keita effort at the death.
In between, Karim Matmour scored an equaliser just before half-time, before a
Madjid Bougherra header took the tie into extra-time.
But Blackpool forward Bouzza netted a dramatic winner two minutes after coming
on to hand his side a well-deserved win against Vahid Halilhodzic's below par
It was a dramatic turnaround after the Algerians looked nervous through the
opening exchanges and fell behind four minutes in.
Yaya Toure's shot was deflected into the path of Kalou on the right side of the
penalty area and the Chelsea striker executed a low finish beyond Faouzi
Chaouchi at the near post.
It continued to look easy for the Elephants as Didier Drogba had a penalty
appeal turned down - the referee deemed Rafik Halliche's sliding challenge a
The Algerians eventually began to settle as the game reached the 20-minute mark
and Boubacar Barry almost gifted them a goal when his attempt to make a routine
clearance was charged down by Abdelkader Ghezzal only for the ball to rebound
More Algeria pressure followed as the momentum looked to have totally shifted
and, apart from occasional tussles between Drogba and Bougherra, the Algerians
The pressure eventually told five minutes before half-time when a long ball
from Antar Yahia bounced loosely on the edge of the Ivorian penalty area, with
Matmour forcing his way in between two defenders and finishing emphatically with
a strike that took the upright before going in.
That brought up half-time and after a quiet restart, the pace dramatically
picked up as the game approached the hour mark.
First Matmour missed a glorious chance to put the Desert Hawks in front when he
blazed over from just inside the box after receiving a delightful pass over the
top from Mourad Meghni.
There was a crucial moment in the 68th minute when Souleymane Bamba was
dispossessed by Matmour on the edge of the penalty area, but the Borussia
Monchengladbach midfielder saw his shot excellently kept out by Barry.
Saadane's men continued to pile on the pressure, but their west African
opponents were still a threat on the break as Yaya Toure illustrated with
another shot that forced a full length dive from Chaouchi, but drifted narrowly
Five minutes from the end and having just come on, substitute Kader Keita led
another sweeping counter attack with a pin-point pass to Gervinho, but the Lille
forward blasted his effort over.
The Galatasaray midfielder then smashed in a 25-yard screamer that went in off
the upright and looked to have won the game with just a minute to play.
Enter stoppage time and the Algerians refused to give in. A sweeping cross from the left, along with sloppy defending from the Ivorian defence, allowed Bougherra in and the Rangers defender headed in powerfully.
The Elephants looked shell-shocked and their opponents took full advantage less
than two minutes into extra-time.
Bouazza, introduced after the 90 minutes ended, was left unmarked at the far
post and leapt high to nod in Ziani's cross from the left to put Algeria ahead
for the first time.
Their opponents tried to respond with Drogba's fierce 18-yard shot somehow
blocked by Chaouchi, who helped his side stay 3-2 ahead after 105 minutes.
Straight from the restart there were chances aplenty for the Algerians to kill
off the game as Ivory Coast went for broke - Ghezzal mis-hitting the best of the
chances in the form of a virtual tap-in that seemed almost impossible to miss.
At the other end, Bamba put a goal-mouth scramble for his side wide, while the
final attempt, which came to Kolo Toure and was expertly executed into the back
of the goal, was judged offside as the tournament favourites bowed out.