COCAN 20-21

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How the Elephants smashed the Desert Foxes out of AFCON 2021

Ivory Coast vs Algeria - img-from-caf-online
Ivory Coast VS Algeria, AFCON 2021. Photo credit: Cafonline
Like a bomb shell, the defending champs crashed and packed out of the 33rd edition of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON Cameroon 2021.

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The last straw that broke the Camel’s back in the build up to their early departure from the African football jamboree was the 3-1 defeat suffered in the hands of the Elephants of Ivory Coast.

It took the Elephants no time to impose their rhythm on the game, scoring three goals in the first half, from Frank Yannick Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare and Nicolas Pepe for a 3-0 lead. 

Soufiane Bendebka’s goal against the Elephants was the Desert Foxes’ lone goal of the tournament. The North African team missed a chance to increase the tally as Riyad Mahrez squandered a penalty spot shot.

Right from day one matches, when Algeria drew level 0-0 with Sierra Leone, many wondered if the defending champions were going to bounce back.

Djamel Belmadi’s squad sunk even further to lose to Equatorial Guinea 1-0, registering their first defeat in 36 years. In their last Group E game, the Elephants organized a burial ceremony for the Foxes after a 3-1 defeat.

The 2019 champs could not bear the loss as many of their players broke down in tears, reflecting the mood in Algeria.

Coach Djamel Belmadi maintained that they were not prepared for the tournament, stating that their participation was a failure.

“We failed to manage our chances at the start of the competition. We had difficulties scoring penalties. We’re not just good enough.”, Belmadi stressed.

The Elephants qualifying top of Group E have taught many the lesson that football is won only in the field, not based on statistics of favourites in the group.

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