Africa champion Algeria wins Arab Cup after beating Tunisia


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Overtime goals from substitutes Amr Sayoud and Yacine Brahimi helped Algeria win 2-0 over neighboring Tunisia in the Arab Cup final at Al Bayt stadium on Saturday.

He added the Arab crown for the Africa Cup of Nations title that Algeria won in 2019 and will defend in Cameroon next month.

The 31-year-old Sayoud made his international debut in the Algerian tournament opener, but did not play again until arriving just past the time for the final.

His thunderous 99th-minute shot left Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen no chance and made Sayoud an instant national hero.

Brahimi scored on a breakaway with the last kick of the game as Tunisia pushed everyone on for a final corner kick and he walked away uncontrollably after the ball was cleared by the Algerian defense.

Both countries were playing without their Europe-based players and looked tired at the end of the 18-day tournament, but continued to push for goals against the backdrop of a boisterous atmosphere delivered by a crowd of 60,456.

The tournament was intended as a dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup. It is the first time that fans have gathered in some of the stadiums built by the Arab Gulf state for the world tournament.

Thousands of cars filled with fans and decorated with Algerian, Tunisian and Qatari flags headed north along the desert highway to Al Bayt Stadium, about 50 km north of the Qatari capital.

The stadium, which resembles a giant black and white Bedouin tent like those traditionally used by nomadic tribes in the Arabian Gulf, will be the setting for the opening match of the World Cup.

Tunisia hit the crossbar by Bilel Ifa in the 14th minute and Algerian goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi had to reverse Naim Sliti’s effort in a brilliant start for the underdogs.

But Algeria should have led when Tayeb Mezaini had the goal at his mercy in the 21st minute but missed his effort.

Algeria had the best possession but the best second-half opportunity went to Tunisia, as Seifeddine Jaziri led a last-minute counterattack but put the shot into the side net.

Algeria finally made the breakthrough in extra time, although they needed more saves from Mbolhi to keep their lead intact.



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