Defending champion Algeria crashes out of AFCON after woeful group stage

CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP / Getty

Algeria is out of the Africa Cup of Nations after finishing bottom of Group E with just a single point from three matches.

The defending champion's fate was confirmed after it was comprehensively beaten 3-1 by the Ivory Coast on Thursday. Sierra Leone lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea in the group's concurrent fixture.

Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea took first and second in the group, respectively, and qualified for the last 16. Sierra Leone was eliminated as one of the two worst third-place finishers at the tournament.

Riyad Mahrez, Said Benrahma, and other big-name Algerian players are now set to leave Cameroon and return to their clubs.

Players returning to clubs in Europe's top five leagues:

Player Club
Youcef Atal Nice
Haris Belkebla Brest
Ismael Bennacer AC Milan
Said Benrahma West Ham United
Ramy Bensebaini Borussia Monchengladbach
Farid Boulaya Metz
Riyad Mahrez Manchester City
Aissa Mandi Villarreal
Alexandre Oukidja Metz
Adam Ounas Napoli
Islam Slimani Lyon

Franck Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare, and Nicolas Pepe built a three-goal lead for the Ivory Coast in Douala before Mahrez fired a penalty against the post. Algeria's Sofiane Bendebka scored following a fine corner-kick routine but there was little chance of a comeback from Djamel Belmadi's outplayed side.

Algeria became the first national team to lose two group stage games during its Cup of Nations defense since Cameroon in 1990.

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Defending champion Algeria crashes out of AFCON after woeful group stage
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