Riyad Mahrez led Algeria to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Kenya as they opened their Africa Cup of Nations finals campaign with a competent display in their Group C match on Sunday.
Stars who made their way to the continental showpiece for the first time in 15 years found the tough going as first-half goals from Baghdad Bounedjah and an own goal by Abud Omar is all that the North Africans needed to dim Stars.
Kenya midfielder Dennis Odhiambo gave away the spot kick with an errant tackle on Youcef Atal, who made a run down the right wing before cutting inside and forcing the Kenyan into a clumsy attempt to stop him.
Captain Mahrez netted the second goal just before halftime after striker Baghdad Bounedjah had opened the scoring with a 34th-minute penalty.
Mahrez netted the second nine minutes later as he ghosted unmarked into the penalty area to lash in a pass that was pulled back from the byline.
Mahrez’s powerful shot took a deflection off Kenya fullback Aboud Omar as it flew into the net.
Algeria’s strong pressing forced Kenya to constantly turn over possession and never gave them an opportunity to create any chances.
Kenya’s only promising attack came with just six minutes left when Ayub Timbe’s run down the right wing set up a chance for Michael Olunga but he was thwarted by the Algerian defence.
Earlier on Sunday, Senegal won against Tanzania 2-0 in the Group C match.
Inter Milan’s Senegalese winger Keita Balde and Club Brugge midfielder Krepin Diatta were the scorers against Tanzania as Senegal currently top the Group C.
Tanzania lost their first group match.
Morocco also beat Namibia 1-0 in the Group D match in the Egyptian capital.
Namibian forward Itamunua Keimuine scored an own goal near the end of this game.
Morocco is now leading Group D.
GROUP A: Egypt – DR Congo – Uganda – Zimbabwe
GROUP B: Nigeria – Guinea – Madagascar – Burundi
GROUP C: Senegal – Algeria – Tanzania – Kenya
GROUP D: Morocco – Ivory Coast – South Africa – Namibia
GROUP E: Tunisia – Mali – Angola – Mauritania
GROUP F: Cameroon – Ghana – Benin – Guinea-Bissau