Djamel Belmadi, Head Coach of Algeria national team, Les Fennecs has attributed the victory of his team over Nigeria in the semi-final clash to excellent mental fortitude on the part of his players.
Algeria defeated Nigeria 2-1 in the semi-final game at the Cairo International Stadium, on Sunday, July 14, to set a date with Senegal in the grand final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Algeria took the lead in the 40th minute through an own goal, when a cross from Riyad Mahrez was directed into the Nigerian post by William Troost-Ekong, but a Video Assistance Referee (VAR) awarded penalty to the West Africans in the second half to bring the game to level.
A last gasp goal from Mahrez, gave Algeria the much needed victory in the finals of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), to set a date with Senegal at the 75,000 seater Cairo International Stadium.
In a post-match interview, Coach Blemadi, said, his boys showed great strength and attitude in the game by coming back strongly to win the game, courtesy an amazing free kick from Mahrez.
“The guys made an amazing first half. We deserved to win by a wider margin. We had some difficult moments when we came under pressure from the Nigerians.
“But our ability to come back strongly after the penalty showed our great attitude and mental strength. We put in a great fight to score that winner and we are happy to win,” he added.
It was the first time the Algerians have advanced to the finals of the competition since they last won in 1990.
The victory sparked wild jubilations from the fans of the Les Fennecs who dominated the stands and rallied behind their team for success throughout the entire 90 minutes.
The contribution of Mahrez was so obvious that, he was adjudged the “Man of the Match” at the end of the game.
He described the game as tough but added that they were excited with the victory and would put in their best to win for Algeria in the finals.