Defending champions Algeria have crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations after losing 3-1 to Ivory Coast to finish bottom of Group E.
The Foxes, who needed a win to keep their tournament hopes alive, could not deal with the Elephants' physical nature and finish the tournament winless.
Patrice Beaumelle's side, who were already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages, showed more attacking intent throughout and took the lead when Nicolas Pepe's deft cross was volleyed in by AC Milan Franck Kessie from close range.
World Cup Qualification CAF
Algeria appeal for World Cup play-off replay over ‘scandalous’ refereeing
31/03/2022 AT 16:56
Serge Aurier was impressive with his crossing and he set up the second goal with a freekick which was headed in by an unmarked Ibrahim Sangare.
Algeria brought on Islam Slimani at the break but it did not stem the tide and they found themselves 3-0 down when Arsenal forward Pepe bent the ball into the corner for his second goal in two games.
And their tournament was summed up after they were awarded a soft penalty but Riyad Mahrez hit the post with his spotkick.
Algeria got their first goal of the tournament with a Sofiane Bendebka header in the closing stages but it was not enough as Ivory Coast finish top of E to set up a clash with Egypt next Wednesday.
It could have got worse for the Foxes with Sebastien Haller having a goal in stoppage time chalked off for offside by VAR after the final whistle was blown.

TALKING POINT

Why were Algeria so bad?
The Foxes looked disjointed in the final third from minute one, lacking intensity in their tempo and passing. Having come into this tournament as the holders and favourites, their performance was again underwhelming with Mahrez and Said Benrahma on the fringes given the magnitude of the game.
Djamel Belmadi made a number of changes in the second half but it made little difference to their overall play.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast): The Arsenal forward has had an impressive tournament. He set up Kessie's opener with a deft cross and was a threat throughout with his pace and trickery. And he scored the goal of the game with an impressive bit of skill and curling finish.

PLAYER RATINGS

IVORY COAST: Sangaré 8, Aurier 8, Kossounou 6, Deli 6, Konan 5, Sangaré 8, Seri 6, Kessié 8, Gradel 7, Haller 7, Pépé 9. Subs: Kouamé n/a, Maiga n/a.
ALGERIA: M'Bolhi 5, Atal 5, Mandi 5, Bedrane 5, Bensebaini 4, Bennacer 5, Zerrouki 5, Mahrez 5, Benrahma 5, Belaïli 6, Bounedjah 6. Subs: Slimani 5, Bendebka 7, Brahimi n/a, Boulaya n/a, Benayad n/a.

Ivory Coast's midfielder Ibrahim Sangare (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Group E Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Ivory Coast and Algeria at Stade de Japoma in Douala on January 20,

Image credit: Getty Images

KEY MOMENTS

22' -GOAL FOR IVORY COAST! Pepe's dinked cross is knocked in by Kessie from close range.
39' - GOAL FOR IVORY COAST! Its a freekick after a foul on Kessie. The cross from Aurier finds an unmarked Sangare with a powerful header.
54' - GOAL FOR IVORY COAST! Arsenal man Pepe with a neat bit of skill in the box before bending the ball into the corner. Cool finish.
59' - PENALTY ALGERIA! Deli is penalised for a collision with Belaïli, who went down easily, that seemed harsh. Mahrez's spotkick hits the post.
73' - GOAL FOR ALGERIA! From the corner, its crossed back in and Bendebka heads it in from close range.
90'+3 - DISALLOWED GOAL FOR IVORY COAST! Haller produces a bullet header from Maiga's pinpoint cross. But VAR eventually says it is offside after the final whistle is blown.

KEY STAT

Riyad Mahrez missed from the penalty spot for the first time since October 2018 against Liverpool at Anfield. He had scored each of his last eight penalties before this game.
International friendlies
'An absolute joke' - Southgate blasts Maguire boos from England fans
29/03/2022 AT 21:57
International friendlies
Sterling stars as England ease past 10-man Ivory Coast
29/03/2022 AT 17:58