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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Ivory Coast played a perfect match to beat Algeria – Beaumelle

2:43 PM IST 21/01/22
Patrice Beaumelle
The French tactician was impressed with the Elephants’ display as they silenced the Desert Foxes in their final group fixture on Thursday

Ivory Coast head coach Patrick Beaumelle has attributed the team’s 3-1 Africa Cup of Nations victory against defending champions Algeria to producing a more improved display than in previous matches.

The Elephants produced a dominant performance in Douala to silence the Desert Foxes and seal their place in the Round of 16 as Group E winners with seven points, while Equatorial Guinea came second on six points.

It was Franck Kessie who put Ivory Coast ahead in the 22nd minute before Ibrahim Sangare made it 2-0 in the 39th minute and Nicolas Pepe added the third in the 54th minute.

Despite Algeria pulling a goal back courtesy of substitute Soufiane Bendebka in the 73rd minute, it was not enough to give them a place in the knockout stage as they finished the group in the last position with one point, while Sierra Leone finished above them in third with two points.

Ivory Coast’s start in the competition saw them beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 before a 2-2 draw against Sierra Leone, and according to Beaumelle, his team succeeded to beat the reigning champions because they shifted up a gear in the final group game.

“It’s an almost perfect match, a lot of satisfaction, heart, and courage. Unlike other matches, we managed to put in the necessary ingredients with success at the end,” Beaumelle told the media after the game as quoted by CafOnline.

“Tonight [Thursday], a lot of positive things and if we continue like this, we can have something at the end. On this meeting, unlike Algeria who lacked confidence, we entered the game, with less negative pressure being assured of qualification.”

On his part, Kessie, who was named man of the match said: “Today, we must highlight the successful collective work of a great team from Cote d’Ivoire.

“We won this match together, we fought together. We are also in the process of gaining momentum in this competition where we arrived unprepared. That's why the beginnings were difficult and it must get better and better.”

Meanwhile, Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi described the team’s display in the Afcon competition as a failure.

“It is simply a failure, difficult to make a rational analysis on the spot,” Belmadi said as quoted by the same portal.

“We were keen to catch up on this match after a difficult start but the big problem, we did not manage to materialize our chances and even the penalties did not enter, doubt set in, we never managed to enter this competition.”

Ivory Coast will now face Egypt in the Round of 16 fixture at Douala Stadium on Wednesday.