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CAIRO (AP) — Riyad Mahrez scored from a free kick in the fifth minute of injury time as Algeria beat Nigeria 2-1 on Sunday and progressed to the African Cup of Nations final against Sadio Mane’s Senegal.Mahrez thundered his left-footed match-winner into the net in effectively the last kick of the game to stunningly settle the semifinal at Cairo International Stadium.Algeria will play for a second African title and first in nearly 30 years in Friday’s final. Senegal goes for its first African Cup title after 54 years of trying.The teams met in the group stage at this tournament when Algeria won 1-0.The final will also feature an intriguing Premier League subplot as Manchester City’s Mahrez comes up against Liverpool’s Mane.Senegal went through after beating Tunisia 1-0 in an extra-time thriller at the 30 June Stadium across Cairo.Both semifinals had dramatic VAR moments www.thetopsoccer.com/borussia-dortmund , with the referee video review system being used for the first time at the African Cup this year. The referees made good use of it in the semis, with two drawn-out decisions.Algeria led Nigeria through a first-half own-goal by William Troost-Ekong. Mahrez’s cross deflected off another Nigerian defender, then hit Troost-Ekong in the midriff and went in.Algeria was pegged back when Nigeria was given a penalty for handball after a long VAR referral by Gambian referee Bakary Gassama, who initially didn’t award the spot-kick. A shot by Oghenekaro Etebo hit his own teammate Odion Ighalo and the arm of Algeria defender Aissa Mandi at just about the same time. Gassama didn’t give it at first, then referred to the TV screen on the sidelines more than a minute later and went back for the penalty.Nigeria took its opportunity — contentious as it was — to level at 1-1 from the spot through Ighalo.But Algeria captain Mahrez won it at the very death, hammering his free kick into the net and sprinting half the length of the field to celebrate with teammates on the bench.“This free kick arrived and, with the quality of a player like Mahrez, it’s a massive chance at a goal,” Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi said. “Thank God we made it.”There were tense moments off the field at Cairo International also as Algerian fans and local Egyptian spectators began throwing plastic bottles at each other over a fence that separated them. Some of the Egyptians had started to cheer for Nigeria over Egypt’s North African rivals.Lines of yellow vested security personnel were brought into the stands to stand between the supporters.Senegal won the first semifinal with an own-goal in the 100th minute when Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick onto the head of defender Dylan Bronn and the ball bounced back into the goal.It was another game of high drama.On a day when the sports world was treated to epic contests at the Wimbledon men’s tennis final and the Cricket World Cup final, the African Cup held up its end of the bargain.Senegal and Tunisia both missed penalties within a few minutes of each other in regulation time.Tunisia was then given another penalty late in extra time only for referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa to check the VAR TV screen on the sidelines and dramatically reverse his decision — to the dismay of the Tunisians.Tunisia should have gone ahead after winning the first penalty in the 73rd Cheap Chelsea Soccer Jerseys , when Ferjani Sassi’s shot hit the upper arm of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly as he threw himself in the way to block it.Sassi took the penalty himself but Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis saved easily.Senegal had its chance almost straight after, with Ismaila Sarr hacked down in the area.Henri Saivet took the spot-kick instead of Mane, who missed two penalties earlier in the tournament. His penalty was low and hard to the bottom right corner, but Hassen dived full-stretch and brilliantly deflected it away with his left hand.Hassen was responsible for deciding Tunisia’s fate, though.In extra time, he went to punch away a free kick but only forced it onto Bronn’s head and it rebounded into the net.The most contentious moment came right near the end after Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye was initially penalized for another handball in the area. The ball was headed down by a teammate and struck Gueye’s hand as he tried to pull it away at the side of his body.Ethiopian referee Weyesa awarded the penalty, then decided to make the long run over to the sidelines to check with the VAR.After another long delay, he ran back onto the field waving his arms to signal no penalty.Senegal has made it to just one final before, in 2002. Current Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was a member of that 2002 team and he dropped to his knees with arms held aloft in celebration at the final whistle. PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel slammed the video review system on Sunday after Rennes striker M’Baye Niang was allowed to stay on the field despite a wild challenge on defender Thilo Kehrer.The incident 10 minutes before the end of the first half saw Niang launching into a reckless tackle and heavily catching Kehrer around his ankle. Referee Karim Abed showed Niang a yellow card, and maintained his decision despite a video review showing the lunge appeared to deserve a straight red with Kehrer’s lower leg bending under the weight of the clumsy challenge.PSG won the game 4-1 to restore its 13-point lead at the top Cheap Inter Milan Soccer Shirts , but as he walked off the field at halftime Tuchel could not contain his rage.“Go home, go home, take that (expletive),” cameras caught an irate Tuchel saying in English as he stormed off the field, while pointing his finger and gesticulating angrily as he ranted against the VAR review system.As he walked through the tunnel to the dressing room, the German coach continued to express his frustration.“Why do we have VAR? Why do we have VAR? Why?” he said, this time in French, adding a hint of sarcasm. “If it’s a penalty, if it’s not a penalty. If it’s a red card, not a red card. There’s no point looking at VAR anymore Cheap Juventus Soccer Jerseys , it’s ridiculous.”He was not the only one unhappy.PSG striker Edinson Cavani, who scored twice in the game, unsuccessfully went looking for referee Abed at halftime.“Hey ref. What are you going to whistle for?” Cavani said in French in footage captured by Canal Plus television. “With television (images) and you (make decisions) like that? That’s not possible.”Cavani did not get to speak with Abed directly, but another PSG official questioned the official as he walked into the tunnel. The referee replied “You need to respect me.”There was little respite on the night for Rennes.Winger Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe also netted as PSG extended its unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 20 games this season. PSG has played two games less than second-placed Lille.With Neymar facing an indefinite period of time out injured , it could become a race between Mbappe and Cavani to finish as Ligue 1’s top scorer. The 20-year-old Mbappe has a career-best 18, while the veteran Cavani has 16 and is one clear of Lille’s Nicolas Pepe.Free-scoring PSG has 66 league goals so far, including 13 in the past two home games after routing Guingamp 9-0 last weekend .Rennes was the last side to beat PSG in the league, winning 2-0 in Paris in last season’s penultimate game. Hopes of a repeat were dashed when Cavani pounced in the eighth minute.Cavani showed great awareness to let a pass from midfield glide past him into the path of a sprinting Di Maria down the left. Di Maria’s cross into the penalty area was met by Cavani’s firm header.Niang’s neat flick drew Rennes level in the 28th, but was lucky to stay on.Tuchel watched anxiously, even more so considering he is already without the injured Neymar and Marco Verratti . PSG travels to face a reinvigorated Manchester United side for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Feb. 12.In the space of little more than 10 second-half minutes Cheap Soccer Uniforms , PSG ruthlessly punished Rennes for sloppily giving the ball away.Di Maria deftly chipped goalkeeper Tomas Koubek in the 61st after latching onto Thiago Silva’s long pass; Julian Draxler set up Mbappe six minutes later for a clinical low finish; and Mbappe provided for Cavani’s tap-in after 72 minutes.LYON WINSJason Denayer headed in a second-half goal as Lyon won 1-0 at Amiens, keeping the pressure on Lille in the fight for second place and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League.Lyon is in third position, which secures a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds, and trails Lille by three points after 22 of 38 games. Lille won 2-1 Friday at Marseille .OTHER MATCHESMontpellier is sixth after winning 2-0 at home to Caen, thanks to second-half goals from striker Gaetan Laborde and an own-goal from center half Paul Baysse.It was Montpellier’s first league win since beating Monaco on Dec. 1 during Thierry Henry’s ill-fated and short spell in charge of Monaco . Henry was fired on Friday as the club re-hired Leonardo Jardim who was fired to make way for Henry in October .Toulouse drew 0-0 at home to Angers.
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