11 June 2018 01:57
Algerian completed a double over Ethiopia in the last round qualifier to cruise to the final tournament.
‘Les Dames Fennecs’ as the North Africans are nicknamed managed to defeat Lucy in Addis Ababa 3-2 to complete a resounding 6-3 aggregate victory that saw them qualify for the biennial championship for the fifth time in their history after 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Ethiopia, missing out on the showpiece women’s football event since 2012, started off the duel on a bright note as they knocked the doors of the visitors as early as the third minute. Tarikuwa Debiso was left unmarked after a goalmouth scrammble gave her space to strike but her effort was collected coolly by Algerian keeper Kahina Takenint.
The Fennecs eventually enter into the game and were successful in halting the offesnive strategy of the homers. In the 18th minute Naima Bouhani gave Algeria the lead. Bouhani collected a superb pass from Assia Sihoum to fire past the helpless Ethiopian keeper Abaynesh Ereqelo.
Bouhani, 32, continued to create havoc for the Ethiopian backline and was unlucky to see her effort sailing wide in the 26th minute.
Loza Abera came the closest to level matters for the home side but Takenint was brave enough to deny her from a tight angle 10 minutes from the break. Algeria extended their lead at the brink of half time when veteran defender Fatima Sekouane headed home leaving the on rushing Ereqelo stranded.
Upon the resumption, Lucy’s showed a bit of rejuvenation in their attacking play; nonetheless it was the Algerians who struck again. Bouhani, who had been a thorn in the flesh of the Ethiopians, left her markers to the dead with a blistering pace and sent a low drive that was denied by Ereqelo but Myriam Benlazar was quick to react on the rebound as the visitors got a commanding 3-0 lead in the 52nd minute and take the game beyond the host.
Three minutes after the hour mark, a solo effort from Abera halved the deficit. Abera beat her marker to unleash a powerful shot from the edge of the box that Takenint struggled to beat off.
The Ethiopians continued to pile pressure on the visitors and a perfect delivery from Tigist Zewede down the right flank was headed in by Abera for Ethiopia’s second on 72 minutes.
The Algerians fended off threats from Abera, Abaynesh Kelsa, Rehima Zerega and Hiwot Dengiso to achieve a historic victory and a place at next the final tournament later in the year in Ghana.
Selam Zereaye (Head Coach, Ethiopia)
We tried to field a team that can attack. We had setbacks in our attacking plan and that led our visitors to grab two goals. The goals we conceded totally brought us down. They (Algerian) effectively capitalized on our weak links and played on counters to get goals. We showed character until the end but eventually lost the tie. I am content with our performance today. I take full responsibility of the outcome of the duel.
Azzedine Chih (Head Coach, Algeria)
I am very happy with the result we have notched. Our objective was simple and clear - to get a ticket that can take us to Ghana. Ethiopia has a very strong side and they were better than us but we were good at getting goals. I think our goal scoring prowess is what got us a spot at the final tournament. Performance-wise the game was very fantastic. I am very glad to see a lot of people watching the game in the Addis Ababa Stadium.
Saturday, 9 June 2018
Cameroon 5-0 Congo (5-0)
Equatorial Guinea 2-0 Kenya (1-2)
Sunday, 10 June 2018
Ethiopia 2-3 Algeria (1-3)
Mali 0-0 Cote d’Ivoire (2-2)
South Africa 6-0 Lesotho (1-0)
Zimbabwe 1-2 Zambia (1-0)
Monday, 11 June 2018
Nigeria vs Gambia (1-0)
Algeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana (host)