Algeria stretched their unbeaten run to 18 matches as they claimed a narrow 1-0 win over Botswana in a Group H 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at National Stadium in Gaborone on Monday evening.
The Dessert Foxes were without influential captain Riyad Mahrez, but still managed to get all three points as they move five points clear atop the group standings ahead of Zambia and Zimbabwe’s showdown on Tuesday.
The Afcon champions raced into an early lead thanks to a 14th minute wonder strike from Youcef Belaïli who curled the ball home straight from a corner-kick.
A rare feat for the winger with his Olympic Goal the difference at the break.
Chances were few and far between in the second-half and with the rain bucketing down tempers started to boil over.
Gape Gaogangwe duly received his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Algeria’s stand-in captain Sofiane Feghouli in the 85th minute, all but ending the Zebras chances of a late comeback.
Algeria will continue their qualifying campaign at home to Zimbabwe next August while Botswana will be in action away to Zambia in the third round of action.