It’s been 29 years since Algeria last won the African Cup of Nations and on Friday they will attempt to win for the first time since then, with a son of the soil on their bench.

This follows Algeria’s 2-1 over Nigerian in a second AFCON semi-final played at the Cairo International stadium in Egypt on Sunday night.

A stunning last gasp free-kick from captain Riyad Mahrez was the difference in this game which looked to be headed to extra-time.

Algeria had taken the lead through William Kroost-Ekong’s own goal in the first half but the Super Eagles responded from the penalty spot through another controversially VAR assisted converted by Odion Ighalo.

Les Fennecs head coach Djamel Belmadi reflects on this memorable victory before they meet Senegal in the final at the same venue.

Ironically, Algeria last won the AFCON title beating Nigeria on home soil in Algiers 1-0 in the final in 1990.

They will meet a Senegalese team which beat Tunisia 1-0 in the first semi-final. The two teams also come from Group C, where the Desert Foxes narrowly beat the Teranga Lions 1-0 and it’s the only goal Aliou Cisse’s team has conceded in this tournament.

Nigeria were on the ropes for the better part of this game, they played second fiddle to the Algerians.

But the converted penalty gave them hope, but head coach Gernot Rohr says maybe his players were thinking about the extra time when referee Bakary Gassama punished Wilfried Ndidi for a foul on the edge of the box, which led to this winner.

It can be argued that Mahrez was not at his usual best throughout the game on Sunday night’s semi-final but like all-star players, the Manchester City star attacker showed up when the thousands of fans who had traveled from Algeria expected him to and netted his third goal of the tournament.

The Algerians look unstoppable at this stage, they have not lost a game in this tournament, only won on penalties against Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals (technically penalty-kicks are recorded as a draw).

They have scored 12 goals and conceded only two in this tournament as Belmadi has more on how they plotted the downfall of the Super Eagles. 

– Report by Velile Mnyandu