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Bensebaini's drama

Algeria's Bensebaini hits himself with Zaha’s arm to try to win a free-kick

In Summary

•Algeria won the Afcon quarter-final 4-3 on penalties after a tense 1-1 draw

•Algeria will play Nigeria in the semi-final at the Cairo International Stadium

Algeria's Youcef Belaili and Ramy Bensebaini in action with Guinea's Jose Kante
Algeria's Youcef Belaili and Ramy Bensebaini in action with Guinea's Jose Kante
Image: REUTERS

Ramy Bensebaini was involved in a bizarre altercation with Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha during Algeria’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final victory over Ivory Coast on Thursday.

With Algeria defending a throw-in deep inside their own half, the Stade Rennais left back attempted to deceive match officials by hitting himself in the face with Zaha’s arm.

As the pair grappled to win the ball Bensebaini threw himself to the floor holding his face, imploring referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa to show Zaha a red card, but he took no action. Bensebaini and Arsenal target Zaha had both been booked after an earlier tussle which resulted in the two men squaring up to each other.

The 24-year-old full back was in the thick of the action throughout the fractious encounter at the New Suez Stadium, first providing the cross for Sofiane Feghouli’s opener on 20 minutes.

Algeria had an opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot on 48 minutes after Baghdad Bounedjah was upended by Elephants goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo. Algeria were made to pay for their wastefulness on 62 minutes when Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia equalised, firing into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

After a goalless period of extra-time in which Zaha was replaced by Maxwel Cornet, Algeria won 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out.  Bensebaini scored first before Wilfried Bony saw his attempt saved. Youcef Belaili handed Ivory Coast a lifeline by striking the post, only for Geoffroy Serey Die to hit the woodwork with the following kick.

Algeria will now face Nigeria in the semi-finals tomorrow as they pursue their first Afcon triumph since 1990.