Baghdad Bounedjah’s late equaliser helped Algeria rescue a point against Burkina Faso on Saturday.
Algeria scored an added-time equaliser in an exciting 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso in Group D in Bouake that spared the 2019 champions yet another disappointing result at the tournament.
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Baghdad Bounedjah netted from a corner five minutes into added time at the end to ensure a share of the spoils and deny Burkina Faso early progress to the next stage.
Bounedjah scored both Algeria’s goals while Mohamed Konate and Bertrand Traore netted for the Burkinabe, who remain top of the group on four points to two for Algeria.
Baghdad Bounedjah’s late equaliser helped keep Algeria’s African Cup of Nations hopes alive.
Burkina Faso came desperately close to a smash-and-grab victory that would have seen them through to the round of 16 with a guaranteed top two finish. They were under pressure for much of the match but had two VAR decisions go in their favour.
Algeria failed to take their first-half opportunities, with Youcef Belaïli wasteful as Burkinabe goalkeeper Hervé Koffi looked nervous and twice cleared balls straight to the Algerians and was fortunate they did could not finish.
Almost inevitably, Burkina scored with a rare attack in added time at the end of the first-half as a long ball from Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba went over the Algerian defence and was headed homed by a leaping Konate. The whistle was immediately blown for offside, but a VAR check went in Konate’s favour.
Algeria equalised in the 51st minute when a free kick was partially blocked and fell for Nabil Bentaleb, whose shot was parried by the goalkeeper down to the feet of Bounedjah, who recovered quickly to sweep the ball in from close range.
Burkina Faso’s lead was restored from the penalty spot in 71st minute by substitute Traore, who had also netted a stoppage time penalty for a 1-0 win over Mauritania in their first Group D game.
It was another VAR check that went Burkina’s way, revealing a wild tackle by Rayan Ait Nouri on Issa Kaboré. The referee had not given the kick but replays showed Ait Nouri had missed the ball as he attempted to clear and caught Kabore on the shin.
A corner late in the game delivered relief for Algeria as Bounedjah leaped up to head home from the set piece.
“I have confidence in my players, they came back with the same determination, what we are missing is being more killer [instinct],” said Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi afterwards.
Algeria were Cup of Nations winners in 2019 but made a horror defence of their title in Cameroon two years ago, where they went home with a single point and in last place in their group and faced a similar scenario again after drawing their opening game against Angola.