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Belmadi salutes Algeria attitude in last-gasp victory

Cairo, Egypt: Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi paid tribute to his team's "great attitude and mental strength" as an injury-time free-kick by Riyad Mahrez secured a place in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Mahrez struck with the last kick of the game against Nigeria in Cairo to snatch a 2-1 win for Algeria and set up a rematch with Senegal for the title on July 19.

"We knew that it would be a tough game because of the quality of the opponent and because of the tough game we had against Ivory Coast," said Belmadi, with his side having reached the semi-finals following a penalty shootout victory on Thursday.

Algeria took the lead just before half-time following a strong start when William Troost-Ekong bundled into his own net, but Odion Ighalo drew Nigeria level with a VAR-awarded penalty on 72 minutes following a handball by Aissa Mandi.

"The guys did an amazing first half. We deserved to score the goal and I think we could've scored more but then in the second half I think we had a difficult moment for 15 minutes where we were under pressure," said Belmadi.

"After this penalty, this decision, I think the players showed great attitude and mental strength to come back and fight until the end and score the goal.

"Either we could drop off for a bit and pay heavily for it or we could regroup and start again."

Algeria looked the likelier to score in the closing stages as Sofiane Feghouli wasted a good chance before Ismael Bennacer smacked the crossbar, but Mahrez saved the best for last. 

"This free-kick arrived and of course with players of quality like Riyad Mahrez it's a massive chance to score," concluded Belmadi.

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