In a historic upset, Mauritania secured their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations victory by defeating two-time champions Algeria 1-0. Yali Dellahi’s late first-half goal propelled the underdogs to the knockout stage, marking a catastrophic end to Algeria’s tournament.
Mauritania, entering the match with determination after losing their first two games, displayed purposeful play against an Algeria side struggling for cohesion. Dellahi’s breakthrough, coming from a half-cleared corner, sealed the historic win.
Algeria, the 2019 champions, faced elimination after finishing bottom of Group D with no wins. The defeat mirrored their premature exit in the previous edition, raising questions about the future of manager Djamel Belmadi.
Belmadi’s tactical decisions, including dropping key players like Riyad Mahrez, came under scrutiny. Although Mahrez’s second-half introduction brought creativity, Algeria couldn’t capitalize on the chances created, with Mauritania’s goalkeeper, Babacar Niasse, delivering a standout performance.
Despite late pressure from Algeria, including more than 11 minutes of stoppage time, Mauritania held firm to secure their historic victory. The underdogs will face surprise Group B winners Cape Verde in the last 16, adding another chapter to their remarkable AFCON journey.
This stunning upset adds to the unpredictability of the tournament, emphasizing the competitive spirit and resilience of the underdog teams.