Esteban Fernandez scored twenty minutes from time to give Equatorial Guinea a memorable 1-0 victory over Algeria in Douala on Sunday.
Fernandez guided his effort past Rais Mbolhi to beat the defending champions and in the process end their impressive 35 match unbeaten run.
The Nzalang Nacional came into the match following their narrow defeat to Cote d’Ivoire and they battle with the highly fancied Algerians.
Goalkeeper Owono Ngua had to be at his best to keep out the Desert Foxes who brought in Slimani and Brahimi as they look to rescue their unbeaten run.
The Desert Foxes came into the match on the back of their goalless stalemate against Sierra Leone in the first match.
Amir Selmane Rami Bensebaini blasted a free kick over the Equatorial Guinea goal with ten minutes on the clock as they push for the breakthrough at the Japoma stadium in Douala.
The reigning champions continue to push the resilient Nzalang Nacional who remained solid in defense.
Youcef Belaili picked out Riyad Mahrez at the post with a clean diagonal pass over the top, Riyad fired across goal but Nzalang Nacional cleared their lines.
The Desert Foxes missed two great changes midway through the first half, Owono saved from Belaili before blocking Baghdad Bounedjah’s close range effort.
Algeria had the ball in the Equatorial Guinea goal but Bounedjah was flagged offside.
The second half saw a much more open contest with both teams playing with a bit higher. Four minutes into the second period Mbolhi denied Luis Asue following a clever first time pass by man of the match Jose Machin. Bensebaini placed a deep cross into the area, Belaili headed across goal only for Fernandez to clear over the line.
Belmadi’s side continue to create chances but they were hit a blow when Equatorial Guinea broke the deadlock on 70 minutes.
Fernandez was on hand at the back post to guide home his before beyond Mbolhi and give his country a famous victory against Algeria.
The victory hands the Nzalang Nacional their first win of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 while Algeria have a solitary point after two matches.
Ivan Edu (Equatorial Guinea), TotalEnergies Man of the Match
“I am very happy with this distinction, in each match, I try to give the best of myself sometimes it works like today, sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight beyond me, it was the group that went for this victory, it was the team that won the match and this award.”
Juan Obiang (coach, Equatorial Guinea)
“I am delighted with this victory against a great and beautiful team from Algeria, it was not an easy match but we managed to build our victory. The qualification for the next round is not yet acquired and tomorrow we will project ourselves on the match against Sierra Leone. The objective is to get a very good result. This evening, I have a thought for all the Equatoguineans living in Cameroon and our people who support us and push us to move forward.
Djamel Belmadi (coach, Algeria)
“It’s not the expected result and yet we did everything, we got several chances but the ball did not go in. We are in a situation of failure, it is a lean moment. Football is not always about rational reasons but let’s be sure, we will fight to stay in this competition. It will be against a great team from Côte d’Ivoire which is made up of players playing in the biggest leagues. Regarding the opponent, Equatorial Guinea, they defended with a lot of desire, determination and we couldn’t find the fault, it’s a situation of failure.”