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Riyad Mahrez Fails To Inspire Algeria To Victory

Algeria were held to a goalless draw in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group E clash against Sierra Leone at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroonian city of Yaoundé on Tuesday evening.

As the defending champions, the Fennec Foxes of Algeria were the favourites against Sierra Leone’s Leone Stars in the Group E opener.

Sierra Leone goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara was called into action just 10 minutes into game and produced a good save to deny Algeria striker Ismail Silimani.

Aid-Rais Mbolhi, the Algerian shot-stopper, was also tested in the 29th minute denying Mohamed Turay as the Leone Stars  looked to take the lead.

Fennec Foxes fashioned their best chance on the 36th minute as an un-marked Youcef Atal headed wide of the post as the North Africans upped the tempo in search of the opening goal.

Nevertheless, the Algerians and Leone Stars were unable to break the deadlock in the first-half and the score was 0-0 at the interval.

Algeria came out much stronger in the second half and nearly went ahead in the 56th minute but Riyad Mahrez’s effort from distance was kept out by Kamara.

Kei Kamara nearly broke the deadlock in stunning fashion in the 70th minute but his acrobatic overheard kick inside the box sailed over the bar.

With 10 minutes to go, Mustapha Bundu missed a sitter inside the box with the net gaping following good work on the right wing by Mohamed Turay,

Kamara came to Sierra Leone rescue in the 83rd minute, the shot-stopper came off his line and pulled off a fine save to keep out Mahrez’s close range effort.

The Fennec Foxes were unable to bypass the Leone Stars defence in the closing stages as they were forced to settle for a point.

Algeria returns to action on Sunday 16 January when they will face Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone battling fellow West Africans Ivory Coast.

How they lined up:

Algeria:Rais M’Bolhi, Youcef Atal, Aissa Mandi, Abdelkader Bedrane (Djamel Benlamri 46’), Ramy Bensebaini, Haris Belkebla (Said Benrahma 84’), Yacine Brahimi (Sofiane Bendebka 64’), Riyad Mahrez, Sofiane Feghouli (Farid Boulaya 64’), Youcef Belaili, Islam Slimani (Baghdad Bounedjah 64’)

Sierra Leone:Mohamed Kamara, Osman Kakay, Steven Caulker, Umaru Bangura, Kevin Wright, John Kamara, Kwame Quee, Mustapha Bundu, Kei Kamara, Mohamed Buya Turay (Sullay Kaikai 84’), Alhaji Kamara (Saidu Fofanah 76’)





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