Algeria faced a challenging start to their AFCON 2023 campaign as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Angola in the Group D opener. Baghdad Bounedjah initially gave Algeria the lead with a well-executed finish, but Angola fought back, leveling the score through Mabululu’s penalty.
Algeria, captained by former Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez and winners of the 2019 AFCON, entered the game as favorites but struggled to convert their dominance into a victory. Despite having 16 shots and 66% possession, they couldn’t break down a resilient Angola side.
Bounedjah’s opener showcased Algeria’s early dominance, as he cleverly finished with the outside of his right foot after being sent clear by a long ball from midfield. However, the celebration was short-lived when his spectacular second goal was disallowed for offside.
Angola seized the opportunity to level the match when Nabil Bentaleb fouled Mabululu in the penalty area. Mabululu’s well-taken penalty hit the underside of the bar, bouncing down and over the line.
Algeria, looking to redeem themselves after a disappointing title defense in 2022, now faces Burkina Faso on January 20. Meanwhile, Angola’s next challenge is against Mauritania on the same day. The draw adds Algeria to the list of heavyweight nations, including Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, and Cameroon, who have faltered in their opening matches at AFCON 2023.