Sports News of Thursday, 4 July 2019
Algeria midfielder Ismael Bennacer has been named the best player of the group stages of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Empoli man played a key role as the Desert Foxes reached the knockout stage of the biennial tournament after failing to advance past the group stage in their previous outing in 2017.
Bennacer was a constant threat to Kenya in their opening game and assisted Riyad Mahrez with their second goal which sealed a 2-0 victory over the Harambee Stars.
Against Senegal, the youngster featured for 90 minutes as the Desert Foxes secured a narrow 1-0 win over the Teranga Lions.
He delivered another solid display in the North Africans’ last group match against Tanzania as Djamel Belmadi’s men secured a comfortable 3-0 win over the Taifa Stars at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo.
Taking into account his performances, the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) has announced the midfielder as the best player in the first round of the competition.
The midfielder was also named in the Africa Cup of Nations group stage best XI along with teammate Riyad Mahrez while Youcef Belaili and Youcef Atal made the substitute bench.
Bennacer will hope to continue his impressive form when Algeria take on Guinea in the Round of 16 of the continental tournament.