Algeria was eliminated in the first round of the African Football Cup of Nations (CAN), for the second consecutive time, by Mauritania (1-0), which won, Tuesday January 23 in Bouaké, the first victory in its history in the competition and will see the round of 16. It’s another hiccup for the Riyad Mahrez generation, coached for five and a half years by Djamel Belmadi. The 2019 African champions had already finished last in their group at CAN 2022 and missed the World Cup for a few seconds in the play-offs against Cameroon (1-0/1-2 ap).

If Mauritania is assured of a best third place with two teams lower ranked than it (Ivory Coast and Ghana), the failure is terrible for Algeria, with a transparent Mahrez on the first two matches, against Angola (1-1) and Burkina Faso (2-2), and on the bench Tuesday. Belmadi, who always defended him in Ivory Coast, brought him on during the break, but in vain. The Greens’ push did not allow an equalizer, as in the last minutes against Burkina Faso. Youcef Belaïli, for example, was unable to take advantage of an outing far from his goal by the excellent goalkeeper Babacar Niasse (66).

But the real hero of the Mourabitounes is called Yaly Dellahi. He is captain, defender, and plays in Iraq, at Al-Hedood. It was he who scored the goal that we will tell children about for a long time in Nouakchott or Nouadhibou. Taking advantage of a blocked shot diverted to his feet by Mohamed Tougai, he deceived Anthony Mandrea (37). The Mourabitounes deserved their success. They learned the lessons of their previous good matches, where they were countered after being tied with Burkina Faso (1-0) and Angola (3-2). This time, they countered intelligently and defended fiercely, without lapses in concentration.

Their coach, Amir Abdou, did it again in 2022 with the Comoros, snatching qualification from the last group match after two initial defeats. His team brought down Ghana (3-2), he added another African giant to his list of achievements. The Marseillais was scared until the end, due to Niasse’s hand fault alone (90 5), and suffered from his team missing knockout balls. by Aboubakary Koita (55) after a series of dribbles or a strike from Papa Ibnou Ba on the bar (85). But his whole group exploded with joy at the final whistle, to the great joy of the Ivorian public, who had sided with his team.