Algeria 0-0 Sierra Leone: Reigning AFCON holders held in Group E opening

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Riyad Mahrez and co. It failed when the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions, Algeria, were held to a 0-0 draw by Sierra Leone in their preliminary Group E showdown.

Heading into the delayed 2021 edition of the tournament with the aim of becoming the first team to win consecutive AFCON titles since Egypt won three in a row between 2006 and 2010, Algeria dominated on Tuesday but could not find a way through Sierra Leone’s stubborn backer.

As Sierra Leone only appeared at their third AFCON final and their first since 1996, Sierra Leone went close to themselves midway through the first half through Alhaji Kamara and Umaru Bangura, though they only managed one attempt at goal all the way through.

The second half was entirely Algeria, yet Mohamed Kamara made some excellent saves to dismiss Yacine Brahimi and Mahrez, while the one time English national team player Steven Caulker made an excellent block from Sofiane Bendebka.

Algeria were able to call on people like Baghdad Bounedjah – who won the winner against Senegal in the 2019 final – and Said Benrahma from the bench, but the West Ham striker rejected a brilliant opportunity late as the holders’ waste turned out to be expensive in a overwhelming start to their title defense in a group that also includes Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.

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