Thursday Nov 12, 2020. 23:29
Algeria moved five points clear atop 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afon) Group H following a 3-1 win over Zimbabwe in a qualifying match hosted at Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers on Thursday evening.
Victory also extended the Desert Foxes’ unbeaten streak to 21 matches, a sequence which includes their run to the 2019 Afcon title. Defeat leaves Zimbabwe in second spot, a point above neighbours Zambia who beat Botswana 2-1 in Lusaka earlier in the day.
The Warriors were made to rue an early miss from Khama Billiat as Baghdad Bounedjah broke the deadlock in the 31st minute. Elvis Chipezeze failed to hold onto Sofiane Feghouli’s speculative effort, palming the ball back into a dangerous area and into the path of the Algerian forward who was never going to miss with the goal at his mercy.
Algeria doubled their lead two minutes before the break. Riyad Mahrez outmuscled his marker before teeing up Sofiane Feghouli who directed a diving header into the back of the net.
Mahrez made it 3-0 in the 67th minute. His attempted through ball deflected off a Zimbabwean defender and back into his path and after gliding into the penalty area the Manchester City winger finished with aplomb past Talbert Shumba who had replaced Chipezeze at half-time.
Zimbabwe had their chances and finally found the back of the net through Tinotenda Kadewere in the 79th minute. The Lyon striker beat the offside trap before chipping the onrushing M’Bolhi for a deserved goal, as he carried on from where he left off in France at the weekend.
His strike proved a mere consolation but Zimbabwe will take confidence from how they played heading into Monday’s match between the two nations at Harare’s National Sports Stadium.