World: Africa Cup of Nations
FT
1 - 1
(1 - 0)
Algeria
Angola
B. Bounedjah (18)
Mabululo (68)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bentaleb penalty leads to draw for Bensebaini and Chaibi's Algeria in AFCON opener

The 2019 African continental champions have opened up their 2023 tournament with a draw against the Sable Antelopes of Angola. 
German football's two representatives in the Algerian national team both played the full 90 minutes in the Fennecs' opening group stage encounter against Angola. Eintracht Frankfurt's Fares Chaibi and Borussia Dortmund's Ramy Bensebaini both featured in Algerian trainer Djamel Belmadi's starting XI. Chaibi played as a buttressing midfielder in Belmadi's 4-1-4-1. Bensebaini filled in at an unnatural position in central defense. The two current Bundesligsts were joined by by former Schalke professional Nabil Bentaleb in midfield.

Chaibi fired the first warning shot for the heavily favored North Africans. The two-time continental champions also grabbed an early lead in the 18th when Youcef Belaïli played in lead striker Baghdad Bounedjah with a lovely long vertical. Belmadi's men were nevertheless unable to build upon their early advantage and were ultimately made to pay. A nasty late challenge from Bentaleb in the box enabled Angola's Mabululu to equalize from the spot in the 68th. Algeria missed out on the chance to grab a late winner on a promising free-kick deep into second-half injury time.

Chaibi finished off the match with two efforts on target, actively involved in most Fennec attack charges en route to racking up 54 touches. Bensebaini recored 80 touches and played nearly 70 passes, yet was rarely involved in any direct duels on the ground or in the air. The BVB fullback was booked for a clumsy challenge in the 34th, making it the third consecutive AFCON in which he was shown a caution. Bensebaini was booked twice in the 2019 title winning campaign, including once in the final.

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