World Cup 2022: Algeria avenge Nations Cup failure in Cameroon

By Maher MezahiFootball Writer, Algeria
Islam Slimani
Islam Slimani celebrates his crucial goal in Douala where Algeria took a 1-0 first-leg lead

Algeria inflicted a rare home defeat on Cameroon as the 2019 African champions took a crucial 1-0 lead from the first leg of their 2022 World Cup play-off.

Playing in Douala, where Cameroon have been unbeaten since losing a Nations Cup qualifier in 2000, veteran Islam Slimani's winner handed Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi the perfect 46th birthday present.

Five minutes before the break, the former Leicester City striker rose to meet Youcef Belaili's free-kick and power a header past Ajax goalkeeper Andrè Onana.

The Desert Foxes - bidding to reach a fifth World Cup - host Cameroon, who have been to more World Cups (seven) than any other African side, in the return leg on Tuesday.

The Algerians, whose 35-match unbeaten run ended at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, resumed their form heading into that tournament when showing steely resolve to keep the hosts at bay.

Fifty thousand supporters had packed the Japoma stadium, where Algeria had lost two matches and drawn one in their disappointing Nations Cup display.

"We don't care about Japoma stadium," Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez had said upon arrival in Cameroon, seeking to dispel any doubts about the venue.

It seemed in the opening minutes that Cameroon would blitz their way to a comfortable victory, as Belmadi lined up a 5-2-3 for the first time since he took charge in 2018.

Lyon forward Karl Toko Ekambi, who scored five goals at the Nations Cup, threatened Rais M'Bolhi's goal on two occasions, but Algeria found its shape after a quarter of an hour and began controlling possession and nullifying Cameroonian attacks.

The match was significantly delayed in the second half with multiple substitutions and then a partial power outage which affected some of the stadium's lighting projectors.

On the pitch, the hosts suffered from a similar lack of illumination until the closing stages when Toko Ekambi and substitute Leandré Tawamba prompted scares in the Algerian defence.

The Algerians have not lost a home match at Stade Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida since they started playing at the arena in 2004, a run that spans over 40 matches.

The victor in four days' time will take one of Africa five Qatar 2022 slots, all of which will be decided on Tuesday.

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Algeria64202542114
2Burkina Faso6330124812
3Niger62131317-47
4Djibouti6006429-250

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Tunisia6411112913
2Equatorial Guinea632165111
3Zambia621389-17
4Mauritania6024211-92

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Nigeria641193613
2Cape Verde632186211
3Liberia620458-36
4Central African Republic611449-54

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Cameroon6501123915
2Ivory Coast6411103713
3Mozambique611428-64
4Malawi6105212-103

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Mali65101101116
2Uganda62313219
3Kenya613249-56
4Rwanda601529-71

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Egypt6420104614
2Gabon621378-17
3Libya621347-37
4Angola612368-25

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ghana641173413
2South Africa641162413
3Ethiopia612347-35
4Zimbabwe602427-52

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Senegal65101541116
2Togo622256-18
3Namibia6123510-55
4Congo6033510-53

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Morocco66002011918
2Guinea-Bissau6132511-66
3Guinea6042511-64
4Sudan6033512-73

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1DR Congo632193611
2Benin631254110
3Tanzania622268-28
4Madagascar611449-54
View full World Cup Qualifying - African tables

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