Algeria and Ghana progress from AFCON "Group of Death"

    Story highlights

    • Ghana and Algeria reach AFCON 2015 quarterfinals
    • Algeria defeat Senegal 2-0 in Malabo thanks to goals from Mahrez and Bentaleb
    • Ghana leave it late to triumph over South Africa in Mongomo

    (CNN)Algeria and Ghana are through to the quarterfinals of the 2015 African Cup of Nations at the expense of Senegal and South Africa after a dramatic conclusion to the competition's "Group of Death" Tuesday.

    All four teams had a chance of qualifying before kick-off with Senegal requiring just a point to be sure of their passage to the next stage.
      However, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Algeria coupled with Ghana's late 2-1 win over South Africa ensured Alan Girese's men would not be progressing from Group C.

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      Playing an unimaginative brand of long ball football and with little shape in attack or defense, Senegal's demise seldom looked in doubt in Malabo
      Algeria had the chance to open the scoring after just 90 seconds but a terrible touch from Sofiane Feghouli when through on goal allowed Senegal goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul to smother.
      The pre-tournament favourite would not have to wait long to break the deadlock, however.
      Aided by some lackadaisical defending, Riyad Mahrez controlled a simple ball over the top before composing himself and calmly slotting beyond Coundoul.
      Algeria was dominant and Hillal Soudani took his turn to test Coundoul with a rasping shot from distance after 20 minutes.
      Girese had warned his players before the game that nothing was settled despite their advantage atop the group. And as the half wore on the Frenchman's side began to edge their way into the contest.
      Idrissa Gueye stung the palms of Rais Mboli in the Algeria goal with a long range effort as halftime approached. Yet Senegal looked vulnerable on the break when pushing forward.
      This pattern would come to define much of the second half.
      Senegal brought on Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse as they searched for an equalizer and they made early headway as Sadio Mane almost latched on to a Papy Djilobodji cutback.
      Algeria withstood this early pressure and came close to doubling their advantage after 73 minutes. Saphir Taïder's strike from the edge of the area beat Coundoul but not Kara Mbodji who had fallen back to station himself on the line.
      Ten minutes later though there was nothing Coundoul or his defenders could do as Nabil Bentaleb found himself free on the edge of the Senegal area. The Tottenham midfielder composed himself and fired an unstoppable shot into the bottom right hand corner to make sure of the victory and top spot in the group.

      Ghana leave it late

      Algeria's triumph meant Ghana required a win over South Africa in Mongomo to leapfrog Senegal in the standings and book their place in the quarterfinals.
      But things didn't start too brightly for the Black Stars as Mandla Masango broke the deadlock for South Africa with a stunning volley after 15 minutes.
      Aware that two goals were required, Ghana poured forward but were faced with a resolute Bafana Bafana rear-guard.
      John Boye restored parity after 73 minutes, latching on to a mishit Andre Ayew shot before swiveling to rattle beyond Nhlanhla Khuzwayo.
      Ghana then struck a post moments later as they searched for the go-ahead-goal that would take them through.
      That would arrive with just seven minutes remaining.
      Ayew was left alone in the South Africa box and rose to flick Baba Rahman's cross past the despairing Khuzwayo and send his country through.