The 32nd edition of the African Nations Cup climaxed with Algeria beating Senegal to win its second title but also it’s first in a period of 29 years.
A Baghdad Bounedjah second minute deflection off Captain Cheikhou Kouyate was enough to gift the desert foxes the trophy they had last won in 1990.
However, the tournament never went without surprise and wonders.
Benin never won any game in the mandatory 90 minutes prior to the quarterfinal defeat to Senegal.
The small West African nation advanced to the last 16 after three successive draws that made them one of the best performing third placed teams in the group.
Luck continued to be on their side when in an extraordinary manner upset Morocco in a 4-1 shootout after a 1-1 stalemate at the end of extra time.
On the other side, Morocco that had topped group D without losing a point and also not conceding a goal was humiliated by a “small” Benin that rode on luck.
Defending champions, hosts disgraced
Defending champions Cameroon who had progressed to the round of 16 on the back of three clean sheets and unbeaten were disgraced by fellow West African nation, Nigeria.
Goals by Odion Ighalo(brace) and Alex Iwobi were enough to bring the Cameroon empire down crumbling as they exited the 2019 African Nations Cup.
On the other hand, hosts Egypt who were flying on cloud nine in the group stages were beaten by a South African team that had won only one game and scored one goal in the group stages.
Egypt progressed to the round of 16 with nine points as they topped group A with five goals scored but on the other side had not conceded any goal.
They were however humiliated in front of their home fans by South Africa to see their Pyramids crumble down so fast.
Before progressing to the quarterfinals, South Africa had scored only two goals in the entire tournament.
For Tunisia, it was another surprise as the North African nation progressed to the round of 16 without winning any game.
They had drawn three times, scored two goals and conceded twice in the group stages but were beaten in semifinals one nil by Senegal.
Axe-wielding for coaches
For a number of coaches, it has been an axe-wielding expedition following their exit from the 2019 edition of the African Nations Cup.
Egypt’s Javier Onaindia Aguirre, Clarence Seedorf(Cameroon), Paul Put(Guinea) and Tanzania’s Emmanuel Amunike were all casualties of the 32nd edition of the African Nations Cup played in Egypt.
Senegal lost their second African Nations Cup final after being beaten by Algeria one-nil.
In what looks like a curse following him, Senegal’s Alliou Cisse who was part of the team that lost the 2002 title to Cameroon’s Indomitable Lion as a player against lost the finals as a coach.
Quick Facts about the 2019 Afcon
Algeria beat Senegal one-nil to win the title
Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo with five goals was the top scorer
This was the 32nd edition of the tournament in 1957.
This was the first edition of the tournament to have 24 teams participate. Previously 16 teams participated.
This was the inaugural edition held in June as previously it was held in January.
Egypt has hosted the Afcon tournament four times.