LIBREVILLE – AFRICAN Footballer of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, scored a brace but his Algerian side were held to a draw by Zimbabwe in an entertaining Africa Cup of Nations encounter at the Stade de Franceville in Gabon on Sunday evening.
Zimbabwe suffered a setback in the 11th minute when prolific striker Knowledge Musona limped off injured in the Group B encounter.
Matthew Rusike took his place.
Algeria took the lead in the 17th minute courtesy of an expert finish by Mahrez, who curled a shot beyond a diving Tatenda Mkuruva.
This spurred the Zimbabweans to action and five minutes later, they were level five minutes later after Kudakwashe Mahachi darted into the box to
fire a low shot past Rais M’Bolhi.
Nyasha Mushekwi put the underdogs in front in the 29th minuted from the penalty spot after a foul inside the Algerian box.
The underdogs could have increased their lead in the 53rd minute when Khama Billiat sliced through the Algerian defence but Bolhi pulled off a
At the other end, Ramy Bensebaini hit the post after an onslaught by Algerians.
The North Africans resilience paid off in the 82nd minute when Mahrez scored with another brilliant finish from the edge of the box after
weaving past the opposong defence.
It was end-to-end stuff but neither side could secure the winning goal.
ALGERIA– Rais M’Bolhi; Aissa Mandi; Faouzi Ghoulam;Riyad Mahrez; Nabil Bentaleb; Yacine Brahimi; Islam Slimani; El-Arbi Hilal Soudani; Adlene Guedioura; Mokhtar Belkhiter;Ramy Bensebaini
Tatenda Mkuruva; Costa Nhamoinesu; Danny Phiri; Hardlife Zvirekwi; Elisha Muroiwa; Onismor Bhasera; Nyasha Mushekwi; Kudakwashe Mahachi; Willard Katsande; Knowledge Musona; Khama Billiat.
– CAJ News