THE DAY REPLAYED – Senegal lead Group B at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations after beating Tunisia in Franceville, Gabon, on Sunday. Tournament favourites Algeria, meanwhile, were indebted to 2016 CAF African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez for securing them a draw against upstarts Zimbabwe.
In a pulsating opening encounter at the Stade de Franceville, Algeria took the lead against the run of play on 13 minutes when Mahrez scored the first of his two goals with a right-footed curler off the far post.
Zimbabwe equalized four minutes later, as Kuda Mahachi drilled a low shot just inside the Algerian far post.
The Warriors would lead at half-time after Nyasha Mushekwi converted a 29th-minute penalty. Trailing 2-1, Algeria pressed hard for an equalizer after the break and were rewarded on 82 minutes when Mahrez drilled home his second of the match to earn Les Fennecs a point.
Senegal claimed the first victory of Gabon 2017 by scoring two first-half goals against Tunisia. The winner came from the penalty spot on 10 minutes, as Sadio Mane converted the spot-kick after Cheikhou Kouyate was fouled in the Tunisia box by Aymen Abdennour.
The Lions of Teranga doubled their lead on the half-hour mark through Kara Mbodji’s superb downward header.
Tunisia tried to get back into the match after the break, and despite creating numerous chances, were unable to break through. The Eagles of Carthage thought they had scored on the hour mark, but referee Néant Alioum waved away Tunisian appeals that the ball had crossed over the Senegal goalline.
Highlight of the day
A goal down inside the last ten minutes of their Group B opener, Algeria were in need of inspiration versus Zimbabwe. Up stepped Mahrez with an incisive run and finish past Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva to ensure a share of the spoils for the North Africans.
3 – The number of goals scored on Sunday by players based in the English Premier League. Leicester City’s Mahrez had two of those goals for Algeria, while Liverpool’s Mane struck Senegal’s winner from the penalty spot.
Monday 16 January (all times local)
Côte d’Ivoire-Togo (17.00)
Congo DR-Morocco (20.00)
The winners of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 will represent the continent at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.