Arab Cup: Algeria beats Qatar, all-Maghreb final achieved
To clash with Tunisia Saturday
It will be an all-Maghreb final as Algeria beat hosts Qatar 2-1 in a pulsating FIFA Arab cup semi-finals at the Al Thumama Stadium.
The Desert Warriors were clearly the better footballing side, but failed to make their dominance count in the first-half.
The Algerians pinned down the Qataris in their own half, and it did take long for a goal to come second half.
Hocine Benayada took a rasping shot with Djamel Benlamri getting the faintest of touches to give the AFCON champions a deserved lead.
Urged on by the home crowd and a rasp of substitutions gave the Qataris some impetus.
Then the referee inexplicably gave nine minutes of added time – which was enough for substitute Mohammed Muntari to head home a late equalizer.
The noise and joy from the home crow was deafening.
It appeared another Extra-Time beckoned when Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a clear penalty to Algeria after Yacine Brahimi was brought down in the box in the sixteenth minute of added time.
Qatari keeper Saad Alsheeb saved the spot kick, but defender Benlamri Djamel fired in the rebound to send Algeria into Saturday night’s final against Tunisia.
Team captain Yacine Brahimi explained why he did not take the spot kick.
“I decided to give the penalty to Belaili [despite earning the award] because it doesn’t matter who scores,” he said.
“The important thing is that we are one team and we win together. We are here to win the title.”
Hosts Qatar have all the time to pick themselves up in the third place game against Egypt to at least win something for the home fans.