Algeria snatch finals place with late goal

Striker Sofiane Hanister was the hero as Algeria snatched a ticket to the 2011 African Nations Championship this weekend. His last-minute headed goal could not prevent Libya winning the second leg of a second round qualifier 2-1 in Tripoli, but the visitors squeezed through on the away-goal rule having built a 1-0 lead at home last month.

Algeria are the ninth team after hosts Sudan, holders Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger and Cameroon to secure a place at a tournament restricted to footballers playing in their country of birth.

DR Congo upset Ghana 2-0 in the Abidjan final of the first African Nations Championship last year and the second version next January and February will feature 16 teams, double the number who played in Côte d'Ivoire.

Libya were the sole North African qualifiers for the 2009 tournament and hopes of a second appearance were boosted after 26 minutes when experienced defender Younes Chibani converted a penalty.

Ahmed Zuway, another star from perennial league champions Al-Ittihad, edged the 'Greens' ahead on aggregate with a second goal just past the hour mark only for Hanister to turn party pooper at the 60,000-seat national stadium.

The other places will be filled a week before the June 11 kick-off of the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa with three reserved for teams from the south of the continent, two for the east, and one each for the centre and north.