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Algeria defeat Nigeria to set up Senegal rematch for AFCON final3 minutes read

Algeria will take on Sadio Mane’s Senegal for the title on July 19, in a repeat of a group stage clash they won 1-0

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Algeria defeat Nigeria to set up Senegal rematch for AFCON final
Algeria's players celebrate their winning goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Semi-final football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Cairo International stadium in Cairo. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Riyad Mahrez rifled in a stoppage-time free-kick to earn Algeria a dramatic 2-1 victory over three-time champions Nigeria on Sunday and set up a rematch with Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Algeria led through a first-half own goal by William Troost-Ekong before Nigeria equalised with an Odion Ighalo penalty awarded after a VAR review.

However, as extra time looked necessary, Mahrez blasted in from 20 yards with the last kick of the match to send the Desert Foxes through to their first final since lifting the trophy for the only time in 1990.

Algeria will take on Sadio Mane’s Senegal for the title on July 19, in a repeat of a group stage clash they won 1-0.

“We are very happy to be in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations because it is something very special,” said Mahrez.

“It was our goal to do it for the people and for our families. We know they are behind us all the way. It’s my most important goal for the national dream. Yes, it’s my dream to win it and hopefully we will be able to.”

An injury to Youcef Atal, who fractured his collarbone during the quarter-final win over Ivory Coast on penalties, forced Djamel Belmadi to start Mehdi Zeffane at right-back, while Nigeria fielded the same team that overcame South Africa here.

Algeria supporters filled most of the lower tier at one end of the ground, dwarfing a small section of Nigeria fans, but there were large swathes of empty seats at the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium.

Mahrez leads by example –

Leading scorers in the tournament and considered the most impressive side, Algeria quickly asserted themselves as Ramy Bensebaini headed narrowly over before a wicked Youcef Belaili cross nearly lead to a goal for Baghdad Bounedjah.

Hesitant defending from Kenneth Omeruo just outside his own area then allowed Bounedjah to nip in, but the Al-Sadd striker could only shoot tamely at Daniel Akpeyi.

Seemingly having moved on from the penalty miss that reduced him to tears in the last round, Bounedjah was consistently proving a nuisance to a nervy Nigeria backline with Jamilu Collins relieved to see a toed clearance land on the roof of the net.

Nigeria countered intermittently as Ighalo dragged wide after Mahrez was caught in possession, but the Manchester City winger promptly atoned as Algeria made the breakthrough on 40 minutes.

After gathering the ball on the right Mahrez danced past Collins before sending over a cross that flicked off the left-back and struck a helpless Troost-Ekong in the midriff before tricking over the line.

Super Eagles boss, Gernot Rohr has praised his side’s resilience, particularly the way they bounced back from a shock loss to Madagascar to eliminate defending champions Cameroon, and Nigeria again hit back with the aid of VAR.

Gambian referee Bakary Gassama initially dismissed Nigerian penalty appeals when a Peter Etebo shot struck the arm of Aissa Mandi but reserved that decision, with Ighalo sending Rais Mbohli the wrong way from the spot for his competition-best fourth goal.

Sofiane Feghouli blazed over late on and extra time beckoned after Ismael Bennacer rattled the bar in stoppage time, but Mahrez won it at the death with a thunderous strike into the top corner.

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North Africa Sports

Algeria international Youcef Atal faces lengthy spell out with knee injury

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Algeria international Youcef Atal faces lengthy spell out with knee injury
Nice's Algerian defender Youcef Atal react during the French L1 football match Nice (OGCN) vs Dijon (FCO) on September 21, 2019 at "Allianz Riviera" stadium in Nice, southern France. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

The 23-year-old Nice defender was substituted in the 29th minute during his club’s 4-1 home win over Metz on Saturday in the French Ligue 1 and is expected to undergo surgery to repair a meniscal injury in his knee.

“Bad news for Youcef Atal and the Eagles. The diagnosis revealed a meniscal lesion in the right knee,” Nice said in a statement. “He will be operated on soon and will, unfortunately, be out of action for a long time.”

Atal who joined Nice from Belgian club Kortrijk in the summer of 2018 has scored one goal while providing two assists in 13 games this season for the French Club.

He began his youth career with Algerian outfits JS Kabylie, USM Alger and Paradou AC before moving to Europe. And has been reported earlier this season to be on the radar for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea and the Jose Mourinho led Tottenham as a potential transfer target for the January window.

The injury to Atal also leaves a major blow at the back for the team lead by Patrick Viera who is currently 13th on the Ligue 1 table. Atal made his international debut for the Desert Foxes of Alegria in June 2017 in a match against Guinea and was part of the 2019 African Cup of Nations winning squad in Egypt.

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Pascal Siakam nets 24 points for NBA champions Toronto Raptors

Siakam’s Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet added 20 points in what was their 21st game of the regular season

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Pascal Siakam nets 24 points for NBA champions Toronto Raptors

Cameroonian NBA star, Pascal Siakam netted 24 points for NBA Champions Toronto Raptors in their 119-109 home defeat to the Houston Rockets.

The 25-year-old who has, so far, started every game this season for the Raptors finished as lead scorer for his team on the night despite the defeat, and he also made 9 rebounds and 2 assists for the Canada based basketball outfit who lie fourth on the Eastern conference table.

Siakam’s Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet added 20 points and point guard Kyle Lowry made 19 in what was their 21st game of the regular season.

The defeat for the Raptors meant they have now recorded their sixth loss this season, their second in a row, and at their home court for the first time at the Scotiabank Arena since losing to Oklahoma City and Charlotte in March this year.

Rockets point guard Russel Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

And the win for the Houston Rockets ended a three-game losing streak away from home, with star player James Harden netting 23 points, as they led from the first quarter which they took 34-28.

But it was the Rockets shooting guard Ben McLemore who scored 28 points to finish as the game’s top scorer.

Other games on Thursday night saw another Cameroonian, Joel Embiid grabbing 26 points and 21 rebounds for his team the Philadelphia 76ers, but they lost 113-119 on the road to the Washington Wizards who have now ended a three-game losing streak.

The Phoenix Suns recorded a 139-132 away victory in overtime against the New Orleans Pelicans. And the Denver Nuggets also grabbed a win on the road in New York against the Nicks which finished 129-92.

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East Africa Sports News

Liz Young establishes lead at Kenya Ladies Open tournament

tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.

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England's Liz Young plays at the Kenya Ladies Open tournament
England's Liz Young plays at the Kenya Ladies Open tournament. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)

The first round of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open is underway at Vipingo Ridge in Vipingo, Kenya, 30km north of Mombasa on the Mombasa-Malindi Highway. The Pro-Am commenced on December 4th, with the official tournament taking place between December 5th and 8th. 

England’s Liz Young, who started in the first pairing from the 10th hole at 7.30 am on Friday, made a brilliant start and took the clubhouse lead on four-under-par 68.

Esther Henseleit needs a win to have a chance of winning the order of merit this week, then came in with a three-under 69, while Cheyenne Woods is the next best-placed player in the clubhouse on two-under-par.

The tropical weather posed a slight challenge for Liz, who admitted being unaccustomed to playing in such hot weather.

“I was on the range warming up this morning and my hands were getting very sweaty, which is unusual for me and I had to change my glove, which is something I never have to do. I knew the ball was going to fly a bit and the last hour on the golf course the cloud cover came in and cooled it down a bit. First thing, it was quite hot out there.”  

The tournament features a total of 108 women players from 28 countries, who are set to compete for the top prize of Kes 5million.

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