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Tuesday, 16 January 2024 08:51

Algeria held by Angola in Cup of Nations opener.

Staff Reporter.

Algeria became the latest 2024 Africa Cup of Nations contenders to make a slow start to the tournament after being held to a draw by Angola.

Baghdad Bounedjah put the Algerians ahead in the first half, but they were pegged back on the hour by Mabululu's penalty.

They follow Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon in failing to win their opening match.

This was the first game in Group D, with Burkina Faso and Mauritania starting their campaigns on Tuesday.

Algeria, captained by former Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, won Afcon in 2019 and started this game as favourites.

They dominated the ball and chances in the first half, going on to have 16 shots and 66% possession in the match, but were unable to put away a dogged Angola.

Algeria led when Bounedjah was sent clear by a long ball from midfield, and the forward cleverly finished with the outside of his right foot.

Bounedjah appeared to have scored a spectacular second on 24 minutes when he controlled a cross on his chest before finishing with an overhead kick, but was denied by the offside flag.

Algeria were made to pay for their misses when former Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb committed a foul in their penalty area, allowing Mabululu to slam home from the spot, his effort hitting the crossbar and bouncing down over the line.

The Algerians are next in action against Burkina Faso on 20 January, with Angola taking on Mauritania later the same day.