AFCON: Mahrez Goal Gives Algeria Winning Start; Morocco And Senegal Record Victories
Riyad Mahrez led Algeria to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kenya, as they opened their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a competent display in their Group C match on Sunday.
Mahrez scored the second goal just before half-time, after the striker Baghdad Bounedjah, had opened the scoring with a 34th minute penalty.
The Kenya midfielder Dennis Odhiambo, gave away the spot-kick with an errant tackle on Youcef Atal, who made a run down the right wing before cutting inside and forcing the Kenyan into a clumsy attempt to stop him.
Mahrez scored the second goal nine minutes later, as he ghosted unmarked into the penalty area to lash in a pass that was pulled back from the byline. Mahrez’s powerful shot took a deflection off the full-back Aboud Omar, as it flew into the net.
It was as much as Algeria deserved with an overwhelming showing against the Kenyans, who looked largely outclassed on their return to the finals for the first time in 15 years.
A last-minute own goal handed Morocco a narrow 1-0 victory over plucky Namibia, at the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday in a far-from-convincing start from one of the pre-tournament favourites.
In the 89th minute of the opening Group D match, substitute Itamunua Keimuine, botched an attempted clearance and headed the ball into his own net after a free kick from Morocco and Ajax midfielder, Hakim Ziyech.
Morocco coach Hervé Renard, who has won two Afcon titles with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015), had warned that the opening game for many of the tournament favourites may be difficult and his forecast proved true, as Namibia goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua produced several key stops in Cairo.
But his heroics did not extend to the last minute, as Morocco took all three points in fortuitous circumstances.
Senegal made light of the absence of suspended forward Sadio Mané, to dispatch Tanzania with a convincing 2-0 win in their opening Africa Cup of Nations match, on Sunday.
Keita Baldé, put them ahead in the first half and Krepin Diatta, rifled a shot through a crowd of players for the second just after the hour to confirm Senegal’s dominance in the Group C match.
Seen as one of the teams most likely to challenge hosts and favourites Egypt for the title, Senegal were too strong and fast for Tanzania, who were making their first appearance at the finals since 1980.
Senegal could easily have won by more goals if their finishing had been more accurate, with forward Mbaye Niang the main culprit.
By WakeupAfrica360 staff