#AFCON2017: Algeria stunned by Zimbabwe

Algeria came close to losing their first match in group A against Zimbabwe, but Rais M’Bolhi and Riyad Mahrez came to the Desert Foxes Rescue.

10 minutes into the game and Zimbabwe came very close to getting the opener, after Khama Billiat smashed a shot onto the post from 40 yards out.

However, the Desert Foxes reacted quickly in the 12th minute, Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez gave Algeria the lead, the winger cut in from the right and curled it off the post with his left foot.

Zimbabwe got the equaliser in the 17th minute, Kudakwashe Mahachi managed to score past Rais M’Bolhi at the far post, with a diagonal shot from outside the box.

Things started to look nervy for Algeria, after a powerful shot from distance was well saved by M’Bolhi in the 23rd minute.

25 minutes into the game and Mahrez was able to connect with Faouzi Ghoulam’s cross from the right, but the header was straight at Donovan Benard.

Zimbabwe were awarded a penalty, three minutes later, Mokhtar Belkhiter was penalised for taking down a player inside the box.

Nyasha Mushekwi then gave Zimbabwe the lead from the spot in the 29th minute.

A dangerous free kick was awarded to Algeria just outside the box, with five minutes left of the half, but Mahrez direct shot hit the wall.

Two minutes later saw the Desert Foxes get another free kick in the same position, after Yacine Brahimi was taken down.

Georges Leekens opted to change his right-back at half time, as Mohamed Meftah replaced Mokhtar Belkhiter.

Adlene Guedioura took a shot from 30 yards out in the 51st minute, but the shot took a defelection and was easy for the goalkeeper to catch

M’Bolhi came out to the rescue a minute later, after performing a world class save on Billiat’s shot from inside the box.

55 minutes into the game and Nabil Bentaleb’s volley fell just wide of the goal.

Ramy Bensebaini very nearly got the equaliser, as his header comes off the bar from a Ghoulam corner.

Algeria started to pick up the pace with Yacine Brahimi’s long ball for Mahrez, but he was taken out by the Zimbabwean goalkeeper but the referee gave nothing.

Another chance came for Algeria in the 67th minute, it was Brahimi who dribbled his way into the box and passed it to Mahrez, he then twisted and turned, but the shot with his weak foot turned out to be an easy catch for the goalkeeper.

Zimbabwe nearly conceded an own goal in the 74th minute, Ghoulam’s cross ended up rebounding off a Zimbabwean defender and coming of the crossbar.

More chances came for the Desert Foxes, it was Slimani who was played through, but couldn’t direct his effort on target.

M’Bolhi came to the rescue once again with yet another world class save in the 82nd minute, this was then followed by the equaliser, Riyad Mahrez dribbles his way closer to the goal and fired it past Bernard.

Slimani had a chance to take the lead, two minutes later, after he headed wide a Mahrez cross.

Algeria’s next opponents will be neighbouring country Tunisia on Thursday the 19th January at 16:00 UK time and 17:00 (Algeria).

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