Riyad Mahrez’s goal from a free-kick at the edge of the box, with seconds left to play, condemned Nigeria to a 2-1 defeat and steered Algeria to their first AFCON Final match in 29 years.
Coach Djamel Belmadi of Algeria while speaking on his team’s victory over Nigeria said his side had a tough game against a tough opponent, adding that it had to take the quality of Mahrez to decide the result of the match.
“We knew that it would be a tough game because of the quality of our opponents and the tough game we had against Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday.
“My boys had an amazing first half. So, we deserved at that time to score a goal and I think we could have scored even more goals.
“Then in the second half, we had a difficult moment for about 15 minutes, we were under pressure.
“I think we played too deep and didn’t apply enough pressure on our opponents due to fatigue on my players and the quality of course of our opponents.
“Then came the penalty which I think my players showed great character and mental strength to come back and fought until the end to score the decisive goal.
“We however had some situations in the second half, maybe not clear cut chances where I think we could have scored another goal with a little more accuracy.
“Then the free-kick arrived and of course with the quality of players like Riyad Mahrez, it’s a massive chance at goal and thank God we made it count,” he said.