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.
Follow all the tournament games with #JoyAFCON. There’s live radio commentary on Joy 99.7FM, post-match programs on Joy FM, JoyNews TV (available via MultiTV Digibox and on DStv channel 421), Joy Prime (on DStv 281), analysis shows, and fan zones. Follow complete social media coverage on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with @JoySportsGH.
Have your say
More Sports Headlines
- Azumah pays tribute to former opponent Whitaker
- Pernell 'SweetPea' Whitaker, vanquisher of Azumah Nelson, dies in car accident
- Caf boss Ahmad paid expenses for same days but different countries
- Esperance and Wydad lodge Champions League appeals
- 'I am studying German' - Mourinho hints at Bundesliga interest
- AFCON 2019: Senegal to miss defender Kalidou Koulibaly in final
- AFCON 2019: Celebrations marred by violence after Algeria's semi-final win
- AFCON 2019: Mahrez scores late winner to put Algeria into final
- AFCON 2019: Senegal beat Tunisia after extra-time to reach final
- Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in Wimbledon final-set tie-break thriller
- 'Beating PSG 6-1 my best footballing memory' - Neymar fuels Barca comeback
- Senegal v Tunisia: kick-off time, team news, head to head, form and more
- AFCON 2019: Military planes to fly Algeria fans to Cairo for Nigeria clash
- Agyemang-Badu joins Hellas Verona on loan
- Simona Halep beats Serena Williams to win Wimbledon title