Riyad Mahrez scores twice but Algeria are held by Zimbabwe in their Africa Cup of Nations opener

The 2017 tournament has yet to provide a win

Riyad Mahrez, Algeria,

Riyad Mahrez in action with Algeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Picture by Petr David Josek AP/Press Association Images

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez scored twice but it wasn't enough for Algeria as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Zimbabwe in their Africa Cup of Nations group opener.

1990 champions Algeria went into the Group B game as favourites against a country that had only twice qualified for the tournament and finished bottom of their group on both occasions in 2004 and 2006.

Reigning PFA Player of the Year Mahrez gave the Desert Foxes a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes as he curled in an excellent shot from an angle into the goal via the inside of the post.

But rather than taking control of the match, Zimbabwe turned the tables on their more illustrious opponents at Stade de Franceville in Gabon. 

Kudakwashe Mahachi responded with a low shot to equalise just five minutes after Mahrez's opener.

And The Warriors went in front just before the half hour mark when Nyasha Mushekwi converted a penalty.

They held on for 53 minutes before Mahrez struck once more with a shot from outside the box. His efforts earned him the official Man of the Match award.

Fellow Leicester City player Islam Slimani also started the match as did ex-Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.

Group B rivals Tunisia and Senegal kick off their encounter at 7pm Irish time.

A victory for either side would put them top of Group B and also be the first win for any side at the tournament so far after four attempts.

Saturday's action ended in draws as hosts Gabon were held 1-1 by debutants Guinea Bissau. In the evening match, Burkina Faso fought back to pick up a 1-1 draw against four time champions Cameroon.

Reigning champions Ivory Coast will open their 2017 account against Togo on Monday, before DR Congo and Morocco clash in the second Group C clash.