EPL stars on target at Cup of Nations

LIBREVILLE • Two of Africa's top talents, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane, both scored at the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, although only Mane was on the winning side as Senegal beat Tunisia 2-0.

Mahrez, named African Footballer of the Year earlier this month, scored twice for Algeria but his team had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe in the opening match of a Group B double bill in Franceville.

Mane, voted the continent's third-best player, converted an early penalty, although Africa's top-ranked nation were far from convincing as Tunisia squandered chance after chance in a dominant second half.

"We were strong in the first half but let it slip a little after the break," said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.

Mane's 10th-minute spot kick was followed by a powerful header from Kara Mbodji that doubled the score on the half-hour mark, leaving Tunisia as the first team to suffer defeat at the tournament.

Rank outsiders Zimbabwe were eight minutes away from a famous win on their return to the Cup Finals after an 11-year absence before Mahrez snatched an equaliser.

The Leicester playmaker had scored first, after 12 minutes, with a trademark left-foot shot into the far corner.

But Zimbabwe equalised within five minutes through Kudakwashe Mahachi and went ahead when Nyasha Mushekwi converted a 29th-minute penalty.

"In this group, there are no small teams," Zimbabwe coach Callisto Pasuwa said. "I hope that this point against Algeria will motivate my players to do better in the next game against Senegal."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2017, with the headline 'EPL stars on target at Cup of Nations'. Print Edition | Subscribe