Riyad Mahrez saved Algeria’s blushes with a double against Zimbabwe in their Africa Cup of Nations opener.
The Leicester winger opened the scoring just 12 minutes into the tie after cutting inside on his left foot and curling a succulent effort into the far corner.But Algeria were left stunned by a spectacular first-half display from Zimbabwe, who fought back to lead the game by the break.
Kudakwashe Mahachi and Nyasha Mushekwi found the net for the underdogs.
However it was Mahrez, by far Algeria’s most influential player, who ensured that Algeria’s campaign did not get off to the worst possible start with a powerful effort from 20 yards to level the game inside the final 10 minutes.
Zimbabwe, making their first appearance at the finals since 2006, will perhaps count themselves a little unlucky after playing some excellent football.
Khama Billiat was superb for the Warriors and was only denied a spectacular 30-yard goal by an outstanding fingertip save from Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbholi, who diverted the ball on to the post.