Algeria cemented their Group A lead after registering their second win of the TotalEnergies African Nations Champions with a hard fought 1-0 triumph over Ethiopia at sold-out Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers on Tuesday evening.
A solitary strike by Aimen Mahious in the second half was enough to see the hosts march on in the competition and effectively book a place in the knockout stages of the competition.
As expected, Algeria wasted no time in asserting themselves against the East Africans, who came into the clash with their heads held high following their resilient display in their opening match against Mozambique over the weekend.
While Algeria had most of the possession in the opening minutes, they could not do much to hurt Ethiopia, who did well to keep them at bay and away from the dangerous positions.
As a result, the hosts were forced to ask questions of the keeper from a distance, with the first attempt being a stinging effort by Ahmed Kendouci, who fired from a distance but found an equally alert Farid Chaal, who did well to make the save in the 21st minute.
Ethiopia almost stunned the home crowd after Chernet Beshah let fly from the edge of the box but couldn’t get enough curl on his strike that went inches wide of goal in the 25th minute.
With just seconds left to the end of the opening half, Kendouci almost found the opener after his close range header from a Mezieane Tahar cross was saved by the alert Chaal.
Coming into the second half, Algeria continued where they left off with their high pressing game and eventually broke the deadlock after a well taken corner was flicked by Chouhaib Keddad to find Aimen Mahious, who showed great improvisation to control the ball and fire home in the 52nd minute.
Mahious almost doubled his tally in the 67th minute after connecting with a brilliant cross from Zineddine Belaid but saw his effort go agonisingly wide off goal.
Chaal had to come to the rescue yet again in the 77th minute after his defence allowed Tahar some space on the edge of the box, who’s fierce shot had to be parried to safety by the keeper.
Kenean Maleko could have secured a late for his side after squandering a golden opportunity with just the keeper at his mercy following and fired straight at Fasil Welderebriel who did well to make the save and secure the victory for the hosts.
Algeria will wrap up their Group matches with a tie against a high in confidence Mozambique side who overcame Libya in the earlier fixture while Ethiopia will look to win in the final group match against a wounded Libya side who sit at the bottom of the group.