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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Algeria collapsed and lacked precision in last gesture against Cameroon – Belmadi

10:21 BST 30/03/2022
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi.
The 46-year-old tactician was left stunned after the Indomitable Lions scored a later winner to deny them a ticket to Qatar

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has admitted he was left stunned after Cameroon scored a stoppage-time winner to end their dream of heading to the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

Having won the first leg play-off meeting 1-0 away in Yaounde, the North African side headed into the game needing a draw to qualify but they found themselves trailing after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored for the Indomitable Lions in the 22nd minute.

With the game heading to extra time, Algeria scored courtesy of Ahmed Touba in the 118th minute but with seconds remaining to the final whistle, Cameroon had the last laugh as Karl Toko Ekambi slammed home from close range.

Algeria thought they had scored a vital goal when Islam Slimani netted from a cross on the left but their celebrations were cut short by the VAR, with the Algerian forward adjudged to have handled the ball as he headed the ball in.

Belmadi, who went down to his knees and shed tears at the final whistle, appeared stunned at a post-match press conference, trying somehow to make an assessment for his team’s missed ticket.

“My sadness goes first to my players. For some, it was surely the last chance to go to the World Cup. I don't know if we failed mentally. Ten seconds from a World Cup, there is an error of concentration... of lucidity... We created very clear situations,” Belmadi told the media.

“They very little, except on crosses. We had a lot of situations that did not materialize. It's not a matter of the system. We had the possibility of scoring goals several times".

On the team’s missed opportunities, Belmadi said, "We were in a tactical balance. We were never put in danger, we were never dominated, except on set pieces and during these 10 seconds.

“We lacked precision in the last gesture, the last pass, the penultimate pass... Despite that, you qualified 10 seconds before the end, but football is sometimes cruel. most deserving team tonight [Tuesday)] qualified.”

Belmadi continued; “We collapsed. We put our lives on hold for this match and this success. For our country, our people. We only had this motivation in mind. It is much more than a personal disappointment, this bad scenario... we have to rely on 10 seconds of a World Cup.”