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Faouzi Ghoulam and Algeria knocked out of AFCON by Ivory Coast

Algeria's efforts to advance to the semi-final of the African Cup of Nations fell flat, and Faouzi Ghoulam will soon be headed back to Naples.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

The news is not all good for Napoli fans today: Faouzi Ghoulam will be leaving the African Cup of Nations in defeat, after Algeria fell 3-1 to Côte d'Ivoire in the quarter-finals.

Ivorian forward Wilfried Bony tore Algeria's back line to pieces all throughout the match, and with Riyad Mahrez' failure to contain Serge Aurier, Ghoulam couldn't mark both the PSG wing back and Roma winger Gervinho all on his own. Bony opened the scoring in the 26th minute with a divine strike that left Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'bolhi for dead, and scored the winner in the 68th minute after Algeria had found an equalizer early in the second half.

Unfortunately, Algeria just never looked likely to find a way back in to the match after going down a second time, and it was little surprise when Gervinho scored a third goal in injury time to cement the Ivory Coast's win. The loss knocks Algeria out of AFCON earlier than most had hoped, with some thinking they could even make the final, but this was always going to be a tough matchup for them so the result isn't a major surprise.

Ghoulam did as well as he could considering the monumental task he faced. He's done very well against Gervinho in the past, but the lack of help he got from Mahrez ahead of him meant that he also had to account for Aurier, and Ghoulam couldn't be in to places at once. The tournament as a whole was very solid for Ghoulam, with the winning goal in their first group stage match and showing plenty of quality in defense.

The result means that Ghoulam will soon be returning to Italy to rejoin the Napoli squad. It's doubtful that he'll be part of Napoli's Coppa Italia match against Inter at midweek, but if he's rested and ready at the weekend, we could see him return.

It's going to be interesting to see how left back shakes out the rest of the season; new signing Ivan Strinic has been very, very good in Ghoulam's absence, but Ghoulam had been arguably the best left back in Italy in the first half of the season. Napoli can't go wrong either way, but will have to find some way to balance things out between the two, or find an alternative way to get them both on the pitch at once.