Cote d’Ivoire thumped defending Champions Algeria 3-1 on Thursday evening to finish top of Group E and eliminate the title holders from the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021 .
The Elephants produced a dominant performance in Douala to hand the defending champions to a humiliating first round exit with goals from Franck Yannick Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare and Nicolas Pepe.
Algeria, after an opening day draw with Sierra Leone and a 1-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, entered the clash in Douala aware that only victory would give them a chance of holding on to their crown.
Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe put the Ivorians 3-0 up before Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez hit a penalty against Badra Ali Sangare’s post. .
Cote d’Ivoire dominated possession with numerous counters but the Desert Foxes bounced back with a resistive force that earned them a late consolation thanks to Sofiane Bendebka but it was too late for the 2019 African Champions.
The Elephants topped Group E with 7 points, Equatorial Guinea who defeated Sierra Leone 1-0, finished as runners-up and will play the winner of Group F on the same day in Limbé.
Cote D’Ivoire advance to a meeting on 26 January with Egypt in Douala.
Gambia stun Tunisia
Debutants Gambia edge past Tunisia continued by 1-0 to make history in a fascinating Group F encounter of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations at the Stade Municipal de Limbe on Thursday.
The win meant Gambia finishing second in Group F but level on points with Mali who beat Mauritania 2-0 in Douala.
Tunisia are now on 3 points and have to wait for the results of the other groups to advance as of the best third.