In an interview with France Football, Riyad Mahrez returned to the Can won by Algeria and his saving free-kick that allowed the Fennecs to qualify in the final.
This season, the Algerian winger has often started some matches on Mancheter City’s bench. It was only at the Africa Cup of Nations that he was able to exhibit all his talent. His sumptuous free kick against Nigeria will forever be etched in his memory.
His free kick
« The free kick? My first instinct is to watch the time on the stadium screen. There, I read that we are in the 94th. I tell myself that the free kick is perfect for me, that I have to concentrate with an idea in 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 (laughs). There is Youcef Belaïli who comes next to me, then I think it’s Baghdad Bounedjah. I tell him, « I’m going to shoot … » I still ask Youcef to stay for the Nigerians to think he’ll eventually hit. […] Initially, I want to put it under the wall and there I see this player who lies behind. It is he who changes everything. On the spot, I tell myself that it’s dead over the wall opposite the guardian, and it’s dead under the wall because of the player. Only the guardian’s side remains. From there, I knew it was playable but I had to focus on my action and I put it hard. Here we go. »
CAN, his revenge
« I was sure I was going to do something strong at the CAN. I know myself, when I play matches, I can score a lot of goals, make assists and be at the top. In Egypt, I had my revenge. «