The 2019 AFCON champions Algeria failed in their attempt to conquer another continental title in this year’s contest. Regarded as the favorites ahead of the tournament, they only earned one point in three games, drawing Sierra Leone and losing to Equatorial Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.
On Thursday, Algeria desperately needed to beat Cote d’Ivoire, but stood no chance as their opponents were already 3-0 up after 54 minutes. Sofiane Bendebka scored Algeria’s only goal in the game and at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations after 73 minutes, but it was all too late for anything to be saved. Algeria’s early exit is the biggest shock at AFCON so far, seconded by Ghana’s elimination.
While the two African giants couldn’t make it into the round of 16, minnows Malawi, Comoros, and Equatorial Guinea could. Before the tournament, Malawi was at +2200 to qualify, with Comoros at +4000 and Equatorial Guinea at +3300. Algeria was at -200 to go through, ahead of Cote d’Ivoire at -150.
Algeria is the third title-holder to go out this early in the past five Nations Cup finals. They were on a 34-game unbeaten run ahead of the tournament in Cameroon, which makes their terrible run even more surprising.
📹 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐋𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒: 🇨🇮 3-1 🇩🇿
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 21, 2022
AFCON 2021: Who leads the odds race?
Cote d’Ivoire, the Group E winners, will face Mo Salah’s Egypt in one of the most anticipated games in the first knockout round. Nigeria against Tunisia is the other potential blockbuster in this phase.
Algeria was at +700 to lift the trophy before AFCON started, but now three other teams are the bookies’ favorites. Cameroon, Senegal, and Nigeria are all at +450, with Cote d’Ivoire at +500 and Morocco at +550. Despite their surprising run so far, Comoros and Equatorial Guinea are at +25000. Malawi is now at +10000 while Cape Verde stands at +9000.
The full list of matches in the AFCON Round of 16