Riyad Mahrez led Algeria to a hard-fought and belated victory over Niger at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers in the third round of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Ivory Coast.

The "Desert Warriors" settled the confrontation one minute before the final whistle thanks to a goal by Riyad Mahrez, knowing that Niger ended the first half ahead with a goal without reply, before the hosts rose up in the second half.

Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi has hired one of the new faces he has invited, Rayyan Ait Nouri, in the starting line-up.

The crowd waited for Algeria to put in a strong show to rehabilitate after stumbling twice against Sweden and Mali in a friendly last November, but the squad failed to control a mediocre opponent and the performance appeared to be substandard.

Niger were the initiators of the scoring in the 38th minute after confusion in the Algerian team's defense and an erroneous exit by goalkeeper Antoine Mandria to score Daniel Soussa the first goal for the guests.

Belmadi made a number of changes at the beginning of the second half, especially the change that saw Baghdad Bounedjah pay Al Sadd striker.

Bounedjah, who returned to the Algerian national team after a year of absence, succeeded in contributing to the adjustment of the score in the 54th minute, through a header that Niger defender Rahim Al-Hassan completed by mistake in his own goal after a cross from Youssef Belaili.

Algeria equalise with a goal scored by Niger defender Rahim El Hassan against his country😮#تصفيات_كأس_أمم_إفريقيا #الجزائر #النيجر pic.twitter.com/D1gkCDHzyA

— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) March 23, 2023

In the 79th minute, Mehdi Liris sent a cross that Riyad Mahrez met with a header that was returned by the crossbar to return to Bounedjah, who played a header that was cleared by a Nigerien defender from the goal line.

Substitute Badreddine Bouanani passed the ball wonderfully to captain Mahrez, who deposited it in the net easily amid great joy for everyone in the penultimate minute of the meeting.

The two teams will meet in the second leg next Monday in Brades in Tunis after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) refused to approve playing in Niger.

Riyad Mahrez gives Algeria the second goal after a charming pass from Gomorrah 🇩🇿👌⚽️ #Africa_Cup_of_Nations_Qualifiers #الجزائر #النيجر pic.twitter.com/ooivc8G6u2

— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) March 23, 2023

Algeria raised their tally to 9 points at the top of Group F, while Niger remained with only two points in second place.