Algerian striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice for Al Sadd in their opening AFC Champions League match of 2018.
The Qatari side came back from behind to beat United Arab Emirates outfit Al Wasl in the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai to earn all three points in the first group match.
Having not even started the game as he continues to recover from injury, Bounedjah came on in the 70th minute and made a huge impact for a team.
But it was not until the 79th minute that the ex-Harrach forward scored the equaliser. Xavi played the ball into him and he turned and scored inside the penalty area.
And then in the final minute of the game, the 26-year-old scored the winner for his side from close range with a cool finish inside the box to seal the win for his team.
Bounedjah is surely going to be involved in Rabah Madjer’s squad for the upcoming Algeria matches, and should be competing for a starting position in the national team.
With eleven goals in his last ten matches for Al Sadd in all competitions, Bounedjah is in fantastic form for the club and hopefully he can come back from injury stronger and keep performing as strongly for his country.
Algeria’s national team will play against Tanzania and Iran next month. The Desert Foxes will be looking for a positive start to 2018, and have plenty of time to play after not qualifying for the World Cup.
The first game will be up against Tanzania on the 22nd of March at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. Algeria recently played against them in 2015 and won 7-0, so it is a bit of an unnecessary match as it does not benefit either side.
Five days later, Rabah Madjer’s men travel to Austria where they will play Iran in Graz. Iran wanted to play against Algeria as a test for their World Cup group game against fellow North African side Morocco.
The qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations were originally meant to commence in March, however the postponement of the tournament to the summer has freed up more space for friendlies.
Iran are currently 34th in the FIFA World Rankings, whilst minnows Tanzania are ranked 146th which questions the point of playing against such a low rated opposition.
On the other hand, the game could present a good opportunity to try out some new young players and see how they perform for the national team on the big stage.
Yacine Brahimi’s FC Porto welcome Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League this week, as the most elite club competition in the world returns to action.
The Premier League side are travelling to Portugal, where Mohamed Salah will be up against fellow North African winger Yacine Brahimi in the last 16 of the tournament.
Brahimi has reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League previously with Porto, but it will be a tough task if they are to reach that stage once again.
The 28-year-old was rested at the weekend for Porto’s league match away to Chaves, as he was an unused substitute on the bench.
This will be a fantastic opportunity for the left winger to shine, and his dribbling skills will cause problems for Liverpool’s relatively inexperienced full-backs at continental level.
Porto are unbeaten over 90 minutes since last October, so they come into this match in great form.
Liverpool have never lost to Porto, and the two sides have met four times previously. The match kicks off at 7.45pm on the 14th of February, at the Dragao, and is live on BT Sport.
Rabah Madjer is the only Algerian to win the Champions League, back in 1987 with FC Porto as he scored a brilliant back-heel in the final.
Algerian striker Islam Slimani will only be able to play up to ten matches for his new club Newcastle United, since making the move from Leicester City on loan, on transfer deadline day.
Newcastle are out of all the Cup competitions, and only have eleven Premier League matches remaining. However, Slimani will not be allowed to play against his parent club Leicester due to the loan rules, meaning he can only feature up to ten times for the Magpies this season.
Those ten fixtures are Bournemouth away, Liverpool away, Southampton at home, Tottenham away, Huddersfield at home, Arsenal at home, Everton away, West Brom at home, Watford away and finishing the campaign with a home match against reigning champions Chelsea.
The 29-year-old will have to be in fine form, with Newcastle in a serious relegation battle in the bid to stay up in the Premier League. He was expected to make his debut against Manchester United, however he missed a training session at the end of the week and trained in the gym alone.
Slimani is suffering from a thigh problem that he picked up whilst at Leicester City earlier in the year. He has scored one goal in 2018, in the league against Huddersfield Town.
Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez has returned to the Leicester City squad, after missing their last two Premier League matches.
Mahrez had gone ‘missing’ and did not turn up to training for two weeks following his failure to secure a move to league leaders Manchester City on transfer deadline day.
The Foxes turned down four bids for the 26-year-old as their valuation of the player was not met, but Mahrez returned to Leicester training on Friday ahead of the match against the club that wanted to buy him.
However, manager Claude Puel has only named him among the substitutes on the bench. Leicester have picked up just one point from their last two games without Mahrez, drawing to Swansea and losing to Everton.
With just 12 league games to go, the Algerian must now focus on his football as he is unable to move club until the summer.
In the title winning season, Mahrez scored at the Etihad Stadium in a 3-1 away win under former manager Claudio Ranieri, so he does have some happy memories at this ground.
Only time will tell if Puel decides to turn to Mahrez during the game, and what sort of reception he would get from both the home and away supporters.
Algerian clubs ES Setif and MC Alger begin their 2018 CAF Champions League adventures tomorrow (11th February) in the preliminary round of the competition.
The two teams qualified for the most prestigious club competition in African football after finishing in the top two of the Algerian League last season.
ES Setif begin with a home leg against Olympic Real de Bangui from the Central African Republic. They have won this trophy twice, back in 1988 and 2014.
Meanwhile, MC Alger’s first leg is away as they travel to AS Otoho in Congo. They have won this competition just once, back in 1976, and are making their seventh appearance in the tournament this calendar year.
Both MC Alger and ES Setif will be looking to have a strong start after having disappointing seasons so far in the Algerian League, with Mouloudia 5th and Setif 8th respectively.
This is the final year that the CAF Champions League will be played through a calendar year, as it will be switching to the European model from December. All ties are home and away, with the return leg being played in around two weeks time.
MC Alger will kick-off in Congo at 2.30pm, whilst ES Setif will start their match at 5pm in the Stade du 8 Mai 1945.
Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam has suffered a new injury setback on his right knee that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
The left-back, who had recently returned to training following a torn ACL he picked up against Manchester City in the Champions League, has picked up a new injury on his right knee-cap with a fracture to the knee.
Ghoulam was recently named the 2017 Algerian Footballer of the Year, and was close to recovery but has damaged his right knee once again whilst on the mend.
Italian media outlet Football Italia say that the 27-year-old will visit a clinic today to have further analysis on his right leg. He had been such an influential figure of the Serie A side that currently lead the table in Italy.
He will also be a big blow to Rabah Madjer and the Algerian national team, keeping him out of the squad for the upcoming international friendlies.
When Ghoulam first suffered the injury, it was widely expected that he would be out for the season so perhaps he was rushed back into recovery at the beginning of 2018. All the medical staff at Napoli will want to ensure this injury goes for good and does not reoccur in the future.