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Despite seeing their name in one of the toughest groups in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, the Algerians carried that special tag to deliver a shock.

Under the guidance of coach George Leekens, the North Africans showed a massive fighting spirit when they came back to deny Zimbabwe the full three points in their Group B opener.

A brace from Leicester City’s midfielder and 2016 CAF African Footballer of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, saw the Desert Warriors claiming a 2-2 draw.

A search for their first win intensified when they met Tunisia in the North African derby – the second match of the group was a thriller.

Mahrez was bottled up and they lost 2-1 with their only goal coming from Sofianne Hanni in the dying minutes of the tie.

Although one expected Leekens to lift his charges, he is the one who conceded defeat as he said they stand no chance of making it to the next round.

They wrapped up their group stage assignments with a tough encounter to group leaders Senegal whom they knew, only needed a draw to go through.

Despite the pressure, Algeria scored two goals and their efforts were not enough to bag the full three points as Aliou Cisse’s men bounced back to make it 2-2.

Islam Slimani’s brace saw the Algerians exiting the tournament with no win after two draws and one defeat.

Their disappointing campaign leaves a bitter pill to swallow for their supporters back home.

However, their mission is to do well in the 2019 Qualifiers en route to Cameroon as they will want to restore their pride.


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