BAGHDAD BOUNEDJAH'S freak early goal gave Algeria Africa Cup of Nations glory as Senegal saw a penalty overturned on VAR and Sadio Mane escape punishment for an elbow.
Al Sadd striker Bounedjah stunned keeper Alfred Gomis with a hugely-deflected winner in this final in Cairo where Senegal dominated possession and Algeria managed just one effort on goal.
6 Algeria hail their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph and the first since 1990Credit: AP:Associated Press
6 Algerian fans go wild in Cairo as they celebrate a tense final win over SenegalCredit: AFP or licensors
6 Algeria mob Baghdad Bounedjah after his early fluke saw off SenegalCredit: Alamy Live News
Bounedjah's second-minute shot spiralled up off Senegal defender Salif Sane and went in over the motionless Gomis.
It gave Algeria their second African crown, while Senegal, who were making only their second appearance in the finals since 2002, have still yet to win the event.
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane and Co were disconsolate at the end, many Senegal players collapsing onto the pitch in tears.
Mane had said beforehand he would have swapped his Champions League winner's medal for success in this tournament.
"The freakiest of finishes!"
A dream start for Algeria as Bounedjah scores in the second minute! #AFCON2019final pic.twitter.com/qDITCAcnsk
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) July 19, 2019
But ultimately he looked muted and was lucky to not even be booked after appearing to elbow Sofiane Feghouli in the chest as a corner was about to be taken.
Feghouli went down dramatically but the incident seemed to go unseen by officials.
Bounedjah's clincher was his second goal of the tournament – after he also hit Algeria's first, a penalty in beating Kenya 2-0.
M'Baye Niang fired high just before the break and drilled wide from a tight angle after rounding keeper Rais M'bolhi soon after the interval as Senegal pressed for an equaliser.
And after M'Bolhi's fine save foiled a fierce effort from Youssouf Sabaly. Senegal suffered VAR agony.
Ismaila Sarr blasted a cross at Adlene Guedioura's arm.
But referee Neant Alioum reversed his own spot-kick verdict when replays showed him Nottingham Forest midfielder Guedioura had his arm by his side when it hit him.
Mane and Algeria's Manchester City playmaker Riyad Mahrez were both largely quiet as Djamel Belmadi's men clung on for victory.
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Before tonight, though, Algeria had needed little luck, winning all their tournament games, save for a draw with Ivory Coast.
And they had already beaten Senegal 1-0 in the group stages, thanks to Youcef Belaili's second-half goal.
Algeria's only other tournament triumph came in 1990, when as hosts they beat Nigeria 1-0 in the final.