Algeria reach 30 games without suffering a defeat after a 6-1 thrashing against Niger which saw a brace from both the skipper Riyad Mahrez and second half substitute Islam Slimani, who became the all-time top goal scorer after surpassing Mohamed Tasfaout’s 36 international goals .
Djamel Belmadi made a few changes to the team that drew last time out to Burkina Faso. West Ham United’s Said Benrahma started the match over Youcef Belaili, but it was the defence that had the most changes. Abdelkader Bedrane who plays his football in Tunisia, replaced the injured Djamel Benlamri at centre back. Mohamed Fares returned to national team action replacing the injured Ramy Bensebaini and Youcef Atal finally returned to the side after suffering himself an injury.
It was a poor start to the night as it seemed to bring back memories of the previous one-all draw against Burkina Faso, with Niger pressing high up field causing many problems to the new look defence.
Though the opposing team had the better of the chances right up to the half hour mark, it was a touch of brilliance from the skipper that changed the run of play. After being brought down 30 yards out it was he who took the free kick and guided it right into the top right hand corner to give the Desert Foxes the lead into half-time.
The half time team talk seemed to work in favour of Belmadi as just two minutes in the hosts extended their lead, after a scramble in the box led to Youssouf Oumarou to put it past his own keeper.
Niger responded quick through Daniel Sosah, as a misplaced pass from the Algerian defence allowed the forward to be picked off with a through ball and finish past Rais M’bolhi.
But Algeria regained that two goal lead after 10 minutes when Sofiane Feghouli was brought down inside the box. The Manchester City winger Mahrez then stepped up to get his second goal of the match.
The fourth goal then came on the 70th minute from another own goal, this time it was Zakariya Souleymane who put it into his own net after a failed attempt to stop Mahrez from getting his hat-trick.
Second half substitute Islam Slimani scored his record breaking goal on 76minutes, smashing in first time after he was found by Atal who did brilliantly to get himself inside the box.
Slimani then scored his 38th international goal with two minutes left till the 90 after a great display of passing enabled the Lyon striker to tap it into an open goal.
Algeria sit on top of Group A beating Burkina Faso by goal difference and will now be looking to extend their unbeaten run to 31 as they face Niger again away in their fourth qualifying match.
Algeria XI: M’Bolhi, Atal, Fares, Mandi, Bedrane, Zerrouki (78’ Zorgane), Bennacer (78’ Boudaoui), Feghouli (61’ Feghouli), Benrahma, Mahrez (78’ Amoura), Bounedjah (67’ Slimani)
Watch highlights of the match below:
CAF congratulating Slimani for becoming Algeria’s top goal scorer: