Man City’s Riyad Mahrez captains Algeria in opening AFCON 2021 game

The Manchester City star couldn’t lead his country to glory during the inaugural game of Group E.

<p>Riyad Mahrez played in Algeria’s opener against Sierra Leone. Credit: Getty</p>

Riyad Mahrez played in Algeria’s opener against Sierra Leone. Credit: Getty

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez played the full 90 minutes as Algeria began their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone on Tuesday.

Despite the goalless stalemate, it was an entertaining game at the Japoma Stadium, with both sides spurning good opportunities throughout the game.

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In fact, there were 28 shots across the 90 minutes, the best of which fell to Sierra Leone’s Alhaji Kamara in the early stages, but he put it wide. The striker also had a goal ruled out for offside after the break.

The 0-0 draw is a disappointing opening result for reigning champions Algeria, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Riyad Mahrez captained the team on Tuesday. Credit: Getty.

How did Mahrez play?

The winger had a quiet opening half playing from his preferred right wing, but was more lively in the second period.

He was twice denied the chance to break the deadlock with good saves from opposition keeper Mohamed Kamara, the first after the No.1 had come off his line but managed to get a hand to Mahrez’s chipped effort from the edge of his box.

The second stop was from a right-footed strike on 81 minutes, which was palmed out for a corner.

Mahrez also set up former Leicester City team-mate Islam Slimani for a good opening in the early stages, while Yacine Brahimi and Baghdad Bounedjah missed chances following crosses from the City star.

When are Algeria next in action?

Algeria face Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, with kick-off set for 7pm. The African champions then end Group E with a much-anticipated encounter against Ivory Coast on Thursday 20 January.

All AFCON 2021 games will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK.