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The Match Day 3 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations witnessed the big teams coming out to assert authorities. After Senegal had beaten Tanzania 2-0 in Cairo, it was the turn of Algeria to confirm superiority over Kenya in Group C.

With both Senegal and Algeria winning their respective matches by the same margin, they become joint leaders of Group C in matches played at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo.


A Baghdad Bounedjah penalty and Riyad Mahrez’s deflected strike handed separated the boys from the men as Algeria confirmed their ratings over Kenya who are now joint bottom-placed with Tanzania.

Algeria played better in the first half forcing Kenya to play in their own half and were limited to only two efforts at goal, both going wide.

Bounedjah showed his potent as early as the second minute of the game when he raced onto a long pass inside the box but his shot on the volley went over. In the 13th minute, Bounedjah was axed at the edge of the box by Abud Omar.


Mahrez stepped over the resultant freekick and his effort went inches wide. Algeria came close in the 24th minute when Kenya keeper Patrick Matasi spilled YoucefBellaili’s shot after he was played through by SofianeFeghouli.

Four minutes later, Mahrez had another effort with a freekick from range that went agonizingly wide with keeper Matasi found flat footed.

The Algerians were finally rewarded for their pressure after 32 minutes off the penalty spot after Dennis Odhiambo axed YoucefAtal inside the box. Bounedjah stepped forward and made no mistake from 12 yards out.

Kenya’s chances at goal came late in the first half with AyubTimbe and Eric Johannah trying shots from the right, both going wide.

Bounedjah could have doubled the tally three minutes to the break but is header after Matasi missed the ball off his line was over.


Algeria though went to the break 2-0 up when Mahrez’s shot from inside the box was deflected by Omar, taking it away from his keeper Matasi.

In the second half, Kenya was better and limited Algeria from playing the ball.

The change to bring out Francis Kahata for Erick Ouma proved decisive for Sebastien Migne’s boys, but scoring was a problem. The Harambee Stars next play Tanzania in the East Africa derby next Thursday while Algeria will face Senegal.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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