The head coach lauded his players and claimed they deserved their Africa Cup of Nations success after a narrow final win over Senegal
Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi revelled in his side’s “extraordinary, historic” Africa Cup of Nations final victory over Senegal.
Algeria became champions of Africa on foreign soil for the first time – adding to their 1990 success as hosts – thanks to Baghdad Bounedjah’s decisive, deflected second-minute strike.
The goal, which Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Bomis may have misjudged, was the fastest goal scored in the competition this year and the quickest in the tournament since 2015.
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The North African side received another bit of fortune in the second half after a penalty called against them for handball was overturned with the use of VAR.
Belmadi believes his side deserved their triumph but deflected praise onto his players, citing the nation’s long, difficult road in between AFCON titles.
“It’s extraordinary. It’s historic,” he told beIN Sports. “This is the first Cup of Nations we have won outside our borders.
“Since 1990, it has been a long, empty passage. We are a football country. We deserve it, I think.
“It was a very complicated match, very difficult. We knew that it was going to be decided on a small detail. And the boys held on.
“With the tournament we had, with better attack and better defence, what more? But without the players, I am nothing.
“We tend to forget that they are the main protagonists. They are the ones who play, who apply the instructions. They did it wonderfully – if not better.”
Algeria scored in every match they played in this year’s AFCON, racking up 13 goals in total for the tournament.
That number is the highest they’ve managed since their 1990 triumph.
The victory in Cairo also continued Algeria’s recent run of dominance over Senegal, which has extended through the last six matches between the clubs, with the North Africans winning five and drawing once.
In fact, Senegal’s last three defeats in AFCON have come at the hands of Algeria, as have the been the last six goals they have conceded at the tournament in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 editions.