Manchester City and Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez has disclosed that his side’s winning goal against the Super Eagles at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt was inspired by Henry Onyekuru.
Algeria won a late minute free kick just at the edge of the 18-yard box and Mahrez wasted no time sending the ball into the far left corner of the post – leaving Daniel Akpeyi hanging.
Mahrez and a couple of his teammates gathered around the ball deliberating who would take the kick – the same time Nigeria were busy organizing their wall to stop the ball from crossing over.
While the Mahrez was approaching the ball, Henry Onyekuru laid on the floor with the aim of intercepting the shot if it was a low one.
But the former Leicester City decided to change the direction of his kick and it became the winning goal for the Desert Foxes, as they progress to the final of the competition.
Mahrez told France Football: “The free-kick? My first instinct was to watch the time on the stadium screen. There, I read that we were in the 94th minute,” “I told myself that the free-kick was perfect for me, that I have to concentrate on the idea in my mind.
“I wanted as few people as possible around the ball. But in Algeria, in this kind of situation, everyone feels it, everyone wants to shoot.
He continued: “On the spot, I told myself that it’s dead over the wall opposite the goalkeeper, and it’s dead under the wall because of the player. Only the goalkeeper’s side remained.
“From there, I knew it was manageable but I had to focus on my action and I put it hard. And here we go, I was convinced that I was going to do something strong at the Africa Cup of Nations