Algeria edge past feisty Lebanon to reach quarters
December 04 2021 11:12 PM
Algeria's Yacine brahimi (centre) celebrates after scoring a penalty during the FIFA Arab Cup Group
Algeria's Yacine brahimi (centre) celebrates after scoring a penalty during the FIFA Arab Cup Group D match against Lebanon at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah Saturday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

A second-half penalty by influential captain Yacine Brahimi and smart strike by Tayeb Meziani Saturday helped Algeria seal a quarter-final spot in the FIFA Arab Cup with a 2-0 win over Lebanon.
Brahimi scored from the spot kick in the 68th minute at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah as Algeria picked up their second successive win in the 16-team tournament. Meziani scored in injury time (90+ 2) as Algeria wrapped up a fighting win.
Lebanon's Eldor Hussein brought down feared striker Baghdad Bounedjah inside his own box with a reckless tackle in the 67th minute. Polish referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot kick which was easily converted by Al Rayyan star Brahimi.
Bounedjah late in the second half found Meziani with a neat cross and the winger drilled a shot past Lebanon keeper Mostafa Matar. Saturday's defeat was the fourth straight loss for Lebanon who were beaten by Egypt in their opening game on Wednesday.
For Algeria, Saturday's fighting show brought them their second successive win after their thumping performance against Sudan (4-0) earlier in the week. Coached by Madjid Bougherra, Algeria are unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions.
Bougherra said Saturday: “We sometimes put ourselves in dangerous situations and caused us some problems, but in general I am satisfied with the performance of the players. Victory is more important in such matches. It was a tough match like I said in the press conference.”
He added: “Big credit to this team. We had a lot of problems but we have three points from this match and we are happy. We have to keep working hard. The attitude of the players was very good today. Every game is a big game. Our fans are also happy. It is important for us to help our players recover quickly. It is very hard to play a match every three days.”
In the 14th minute, Algeria's Tarat Medhi produced a header from close range but his deflection hit the Lebanon crossbar and bounced back. Four minutes later, Brahimi swiveled inside the Lebanon box but his powerful shot was blocked by keeper Matar.
With momentum on their side, Bounedjah twice attacked the Lebanon goal - once in the 23rd minute and then in the 27th - but on both occasions the Algerian failed to find the net.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Brahimi found time and space to drill a shot towards the Lebanon goal but keeper Matar remained alert to thwart the dangerous move.
In the 52nd minute a Bounedjah header from close range missed its target while soon after the hour-mark, Lebanon's Rabih Ataya blocked a shot by an Algerian defender.
In the 66th minute, Mohamed Belaili and Brahimi played a neat 1-2 inside the Lebanon box but both players missed their chance to score from close range. Two minutes later, Brahimi scored from the spot kick after Bounedjah was brought down inside the Lebanon box.
Algeria coach Bougherra benched Brahimi in the 79th minute but for Lebanon's Kassem El Zein, a second yellow brought an automatic red card in the 82nd minute.
Two minutes from time, Bounedjah picked up a long loopy cross near the half-line. The 30-year-old teared away towards the Lebanon goal. Once the feared striker entered the box, Lebanese keeper Matar charged out and managed to get an out-stretched hand on a low flick by Bounedjah.
In injury time, Algeria's Meziani added another goal from close range as the African giants closed out a commanding win.

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