Monday March 20, 2023

Debutants Madagascar third in CHAN after dramatic win

February 05, 2023

ALGIERS: Jean-Yves Razafindrakoto scored in the 90th minute to give Madagascar a 1-0 win over Niger on Friday in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) third place playoff in Algeria.

Niger goalkeeper Mahamadou Djibo failed to hold a shot from substitute Tendry Randrianarijaona and the match-winner pushed the loose ball into the net.

The dramatic victory in the bronze-medals match by the first-time qualifiers was deserved as they dominated the second half before an 18,000 crowd in the western city of Oran.

After soaking up first-half pressure from Niger, Madagascar should have taken the lead just before half-time but Tsiry Randriatsiferana blazed over after Djibo fumbled.

Having beaten the Seychelles and Botswana to qualify for the CHAN, Madagascar were expected to be among the also-rans in an event confined to footballers playing in their country of birth.

But they shocked Ghana and hammered twice bronze medallists Sudan in group matches and comfortably eliminated Mozambique before losing narrowly to Senegal in the semi-finals.

First-time finalists Algeria are favourites to beat Senegal in Algiers on Saturday, pocket $2 million (1.85 mn euros) and maintain a north African dominance of the tournament. Morocco have been champions twice and Libya and Tunisia once each, leaving Egypt as the only team in the football stronghold not to have lifted the trophy. Algeria have been hailed for their organisation of the 17-team CHAN with Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe from South Africa calling it “the best yet”.