The Seventh CHAN – The Knockout Phase Begins

The Seventh CHAN (Part 4)
January 27, 2023
The Seventh CHAN – The Knockout Phase Begins (Part 2)
January 31, 2023

The Seventh CHAN – The Knockout Phase Begins

CHAN 2022 Mascot

The Seventh CHAN – The Knockout Phase Begins

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (January 27th 2023)


VAR took centre stage this in the first quarter-final this evening. It played a vital role in the three major incidents – a sending off apiece and the decision to award a very late penalty that decided the match in Algeria’s favour.

Majhid Bougherra’s Algeria overcame their toughest hurdle so far. After becoming the first team in the history of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) to advance to the knockout phase by winning all of their group stage matches, Alger’s Nelson Mandela Stadium witnessed an early scare. Their goalkeeper Alexis Guendouz, deemed the best keeper of the group stages was shown a yellow card for a foul on la Côte d’Ivoire’s William Karamoko Sankara outside of his area. He had played the ball and connected with it before connecting with the player.

At normal speed the offence which led to the decision being overturned could have been missed. He had inadvertently handled the ball outside the area, thereby denying a goal-scoring opportunity even if it was not deliberate – it hit his hand rather than him moving his hand to the ball. After being advised to review the incident by the Ethiopian VAR operator, Bamlak Tessema Weyesa, the Mauritanian referee, Abdel Aziz Bouh, decided that his original decision should be overturned.

A distraught Guendouz had to be comforted as he left the pitch midway through the first half. Ahmed Kendouci was sacrificed to make way for Farid Chaâl. An uphill task faced the hosts, but just over ten minutes before half time the numbers were even out as the Ivorians’ Kouassi Attohoula was dismissed for stamping on Moktar Belkhiter.

With the match already in extra time at the end of the second half and extra time looming large a silly foul by Abdoul Aziz Siahoune on Aimen Mahious resulted in a penalty. Aimen Mahious stepped up and after a stuttered run-up deceived goalkeeper, Charles Folly to give the hosts a late lead in the sixth of at least four minutes of added time. To the chagrin of the Algerian crowd Bouh found another four minutes of time to add, but Algeria held on to book their place in the semi-finals. They will face either Ghana or Niger, who will play in the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran tomorrow.

Their semi-final will also be played in Oran, so Algeria now leave the comfort of their base in Alger.

Round Two of the Quarter-Finals

AFCON champions, Sénégal, keen to add their first CHAN to their list of recent accomplishments, face one of the surprise qualifiers, Mauritania, in the second of tonight’s quarter-finals at Annaba’s Stade May 19th.[1]

The match fittingly began with a minute’s silence for the Vice-President of Mauritania’s Football Federation, Pape Amghar Dieng, who sadly died on January 25th while celebrating Mauritania’s first qualification for the knockout stage of a CHAN.

[1] Annaba’s stadium is named in honour of one of the pivotal events in Algeria’s war for independence. On that day in 1956 students in Alger went on strike, joining the country’s liberation movement, the Front National de Libération, (FLN – National Liberation Front), in the fight for Algeria’s independence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *