July 15 (UPI) — Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez sent Algeria to the Africa Cup of Nations final with a beautiful stoppage time score against Nigeria in the semifinals.
Mahrez’s masterclass came on a free kick in the 95th minute Sunday at Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt.
Algeria drew first blood on an own goal by Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong in the 40th minute. Algeria held the narrow lead through the first half before Odion Ighalo equalized for Nigeria on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.
Then Mahrez stepped up to play hero. Mahrez eyed the ball from the penalty spot, about 20 yards from the net. He ran up to the ball and used his left foot to bend a shot around a wall of Nigerian defenders.
The shot curled into the far-post netting, beating Nigerian keeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Algeria battles Senegal in the AFCON final at 3 p.m. EDT Friday in Cairo. Nigeria faces Tunisia in the third-place game. Algeria hasn’t won the AFCON since 1990. Senegal has never won the tournament. Mahrez has three goals in the AFCON.