Reigning champions Algeria begin the defence of their Africa Cup of Nations title with a contest against Sierra Leone at the Japoma Stadium on Tuesday.
The teams have been drawn in Group E of this year’s tournament alongside Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.
Algeria eased past Ghana in a convincing 3-0 victory at the Education City Stadium on Wednesday to cap off their preparations for the AFCON.
Strikes from Adam Ounas and Islam Slimani either side of a Jonathan Mensah own goal saw Djamel Belmadi’s men run out comfortable winners in Qatar.
The Desert Foxes, who recently went all the way in December’s Arab Cup, are yet to taste defeat across all competitions since a 3-0 defeat to Morocco three years ago.
In that time, the 2019 champions have come out on top in all but six of their 27 outings while also recording 14 clean sheets and scoring 79 goals.
Securing all three points on Tuesday would be a perfect start to the North Africans’ quest for back to back titles, and they will be keen to lay down an early marker.
Despite only managing seven points from their six qualifying matches, Sierra Leone managed to book a place at the Cup of Nations after finishing as runners-up to Nigeria in Group L.
John Keister’s men are one of the least experienced teams at this year’s competition having not featured at this level since the 1996 edition in South Africa
They have also never made it past the first round in any of the previous two appearances and will need to be near-perfect if they are to stand any chance of breaking that duck.
An opening fixture against the current champions is as daunting as it gets, and the west Africans must rise up to the occasion or prepare to endure another underwhelming campaign.
Algeria form (all competitions):
Sierra Leone form (all competitions):
We say: Algeria 4-0 Sierra Leone
Algeria will be up for it right from the opening fixture, and Sierra Leone are the first team to try and stop what looks like an unstoppable force at the moment. We expect the champions to claim a resounding victory, scoring plenty of goals en route.