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Sport

Soccer-Holders Algeria knocked out of Cup of Nations after Ivory Coast defeat

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(Corrects score to 3-1)

DOUALA, Cameroon (Reuters) - Nicolas Pepe scored a superb solo goal as Ivory Coast beat Algeria 3-1 to send the defending champions crashing out of the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Thursday following a disastrous Group E campaign.

Algeria’s 35-game unbeaten run was ended by Equatorial Guinea in a stunning upset in their last match, and they were outplayed again by the impressive Ivorians, who might have had more goals with better finishing.

Franck Kessie and Ibrahim Sangare also scored to seal top spot in the pool with seven points. They are joined in the second round by Equatorial Guinea (six points), whose 1-0 victory over Sierra Leone eliminated the latter.

Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty for Algeria, but Sofiane Bendebka grabbed a consolation as history repeated itself.

When they won their only other Cup of Nations title in 1990, Algeria also exited in the first round of the next tournament after a 3-0 loss to the Ivorians, who went on to lift the trophy.

Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond

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