The Elephants and the Fennecs took part in a highly entertaining encounter which ended in a 2-2 drawAlgeria put up a good fight against Cote d’Ivoire in Rustenburg on Wednesday, as the two best teams on the continent according to the rankings ended the clash in a 2-2 draw, with the north Africans leaving the African Cup of Nations.
The Elephants rested most of their veteran players but captain Didier Drogba was on duty to shape up his unconvincing form ahead of their clash against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
The Fennecs began with high determination despite their elimination from the competition last Sunday after losing to Togo. El Arbi Soudani got on the end of a a long cross to the left edge of the Ivorian box, and he was fouled in the box by Ismael Traore.
The ensuing penalty was bungled by Ryad Boudebouz, who crashed his kick against the right post to deny his side from taking the lead in the sixth minute.
Drogba was set up by N’dri Romaric to the right of Algeria area, but after charging into the box, the former Chelsea talisman’s effort was thwarted by Parma’s defender Djamel Mesbah, as the Fennecs would continue on the defensive before getting a foothold on the game once more.
Another Algerian attempt at goal from Boudebouz went over the bar at the half hour mark as Fennecs coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who formerly managed the Elephants, rued his side’s continuous lack of success in front of goal.
Algeria was still in the ascendancy by the start of second half, with Drogba in the rearguard helping out his defense. A handball by Boka gifted Algeria a penalty on the hour mark, which Sofiane Feghouli converted to break the deadlock.
Algeria doubled the lead 10 minutes later when Soudani’s long-range header off a right flank cross from Feghouli settled behind Yeboah in the net.
The Ivorians survived several more attacks from the Fennec Foxes before Drogba headed home from 12 yards after a cross from Boka to pull one back for his side.
The Elephants drew level four minutes later through Wilfried Bony, who raced down into the Algeria area unmarked and unleashed a right-footed effort which was deflected by a defender into the top right side of the goal.
Foued Kadir replaced Soudani with five minutes remaining but the match would play out without any more goals as Algeria bowed out of the competition with a strong showing, and the Ivorians moved on to the quarterfinals to face Nigeria.