AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS Sierra Leone Frustrate Cup Holders Algeria to Barren Draw

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Algeria began the defence of their Africa Cup of Nations title with a goalless draw against a stubborn and spirited Sierra Leone side in Group E on Tuesday afternoon.

The Leone Stars had the better first-half openings, with Alhaji Kamara sending two chances narrowly wide.

After the break Algeria forward Yacine Brahimi shot straight at keeper Mohamed Nbalie Kamara, who also tipped a low shot from Riyad Mahrez past the post.

Nbalie Kamara denied Ramy Bensebaini and Baghdad Bounedjah in stoppage time.

Former England defender Steven Caulker, who recently switched international allegiance to Sierra Leone, made two crucial blocks to help his side to a clean sheet on their first Nations Cup appearance since 1996.

The draw saw Algeria extend their unbeaten run to 35 senior internationals, edging closer to Italy’s world record of 37 matches without defeat, but coach Djamel Belmadi will be frustrated his charges failed to find a way past a side ranked 108th in the world.

The Desert Foxes continually carved out opportunities in the second half but were let down by their finishing – with substitute Said Benrahma skewing a shot wide with five minutes remaining after coming off the bench.