First-half goals from Bounedjah and Mahrez were enough as Algeria moved level with Senegal at the top of Africa Cup of Nations Group C with a win over Kenya.
It was game, set and match at half time as the North Africans displayed some enterprising play. Algeria deservedly lead Kenya 2-0 at the break. The Algerians had a lion share of possession, created the better chances and they took those chances, while Kenya looked more worried about defending than scoring a goal.
From the onset, Kenya were pegged back into their own half as Wanyama looked flat, Philemon Otieno and Aboud Omar kept struggling at the back. Algeria came close in the 15th minute as a free-kick played into the Kenyan box evaded the outstretching Mandi who was lurking behind the Kenyan defence, but he could not connect cleanly as his attempt went wide from an awkward angle.
The Desert Foxes had a penalty shout which was denied by the referee who rewarded the North Africans a free kick after Bounedjah was fouled whilst charging into the box. The resulting free kick from Mahrez came off the wall.
Brilliant counterattacking football saw a 3v3 as Algeria managed to get the ball in a dangerous area, but Belaili's attempted curler went straight into the abdomen of Patrick, who couldn’t hold on to the ball, but his defence regrouped and cleared its lines.
The Algerians kept probing and they rewarded 10 minutes from halftime as Atal was brought down in the penalty box. Bounedjah stepped up and sent Kenyan goalkeeper Patrick the wrong way with a cool finish from the spot to give Algeria the lead.
Algeria doubled their lead with ease, and it was Mahrez who sliced the ball past Patrick from inside the Kenyan box. The shot took a little deflection on its way into the net. However, Algeria looked home and dry from then.
The team from North Africa were more controlled and conservative in the second half as they created less goal scoring opportunities. Kenya, on the other hand, grew in confidence as the game wore on and created a couple of half chances getting to the end.
Kenya, who are making a return to the Africa Cup of Nations finals after a 15-year absence, now have it all to do as they face Tanzania in their next group game – a must win for the Harambee Stars if they’re to stand a chance of making the knockout round.
Algeria will come up next against fellow joint Group C leaders Senegal in a battle for the top spot.
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