Baghdad Bounedjah headed home five minutes into injury time to earn Algeria a 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, forcing their opponents to wait to secure a place in the last 16.
Mohamed Konate’s opening goal for Burkina Faso was cancelled out by a first Bounedjah equaliser, but a Bertrand Traore penalty put the Stallions back in front to the delight of their many supporters in the crowd of over 33,000 in Bouake, Ivory Coast’s second city.
At that point Burkina Faso were heading through, but Bounedjah equalised a second time at the death to take his overall tally of goals to three and join Emilio Nsue of Equatorial Guinea as the tournament’s joint-top scorer.
Burkina Faso, the 2013 Cup of Nations runners-up who reached the semi-finals at the last edition in Cameroon two years ago, have four points from two games in Group D and remain on course to qualify for the knockout phase before facing Angola next.
Algeria, who were held 1-1 by Angola in their opening game, have two points and a win against Mauritania on Tuesday will suffice for them to advance.
They needed Bounedjah’s late goal, however, to stave off the spectre of a repeat of two years ago, when Djamel Belmadi’s team went to Cameroon as reigning African champions but were knocked out in the group stage with just one point and one goal scored.
Nevertheless, Riyad Mahrez and his teammates clearly struggled in the sapping mid-afternoon heat and will welcome having an evening kick-off in their final group outing.
Burkina Faso, whose French coach Hubert Velud has previously worked at several Algerian clubs, went ahead three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Russian-based striker Konate, playing off the shoulder of the last defender, threw himself at a terrific ball into the box from deep on the left flank and headed home. The goal was given after a VAR check confirmed he was onside.