Algeria were shocked by Equatorial Guinea in a 1-0 defeat in their second match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at the Japoma Stadium on Sunday.
The loss not only dented their chances of qualifying to the knockout phase but also ended their 35-match unbeaten run that stretched as far as 2018.
The defending champions now sit rock-bottom of Group E with just a single point, after they drew their first game with Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, Nzalang Nacional, who lost their first match to Ivory Coast, now sit second with three points and have their AFCON campaign back on track.
The first half was one to forget for both sides as they struggled to create any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, despite Algeria dominating possession.
Even then, Equatorial Guinea had the best chance of the half when Ivan Edu Salvador’s shot that looked like it was destined for goal flew just inches over the bar.
At the restart of the second stanza, Nzalanga Nacional were on top again in terms of threatening with intent, this time, substitute Luis Nvlavo hitting the ball straight at Algeria’s custodian Cobos M’bolhi in the 51st minute.
At 70 minutes, Equatorial Guinea broke the deadlock after Esteban Fernandez Obiang took advantage of the melee in Algeria’s box, to strike home.
In the 85th minute, Youcef Belaili finished off a good move for what would be a good goal but it was adjudged offside to deny them the equalizer.
Algeria will hope for some bits of glory in their remaining match against fellow powerhouse Ivory Coast on January 20 at the Japoma Stadium.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea can progress if they avoid defeat when they tussle it out with giant-killers Sierra Leone on the same day, at the Limbe Stadium.
How they lined up
Algeria: Adi Rais Cobos M’bolhi (GK), Aissa Mandi, Djamel Benlamri, Riyad Mahrez(c), Mohamed Youcef Belaili, Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli, Sofiane Bendebka, Youcef Atal, Rami Bansebaini, Ismael Bennacer.
Substitutions: Mehdi Tahrat, Amine Tougai, Yacine Brahimi, Islam Slimani, Haris Belkebla, Farid Boulaya, Roger Oukidja, Adrem Zorgane, Ilves Cheti, Houcine Benayada, Mohamed Amine Amoura, Said Benrahma
Equatorial Guinea: Jesus Lazaro Owono Ngua (GK), Frederico Nchama, Ivan Edu Salvador, Ndong Nchama, Jose Machin Dicombo, Jannick Buyla Sam, Carlos Akapo Martinez (c), Saul Basilio Oubina, Esteban Fernandez, Pablo Comitre
Substitutions: Miguel Ngomo, Marvin Joseph Anieboh, Cosme Ebang Ela, Ruben Belima Rodriguez, Mariano Bicoro, Jose Boacho, Manuel Sapunga, Hanza Meha, Nvlavo Luis Miguel, Santiago Bocari Eneme, Alejandro Balboa Bandeira, Javier Akapo Martinez