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Nabil Bentaleb plays 90 minutes as Algeria open Africa Cup of Nations with win

The Tottenham man featured as Algeria came back to beat South Africa.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Algeria looked screwed. It wasn't so much that they were down 1-0 as it was that they had just conceded a penalty and were playing absolutely horribly so they weren't going to score a goal, let alone two or three. Then South Africa clanged the penalty off the crossbar, put the ball in their own net and Algeria scored two more to send the Fennec Foxes to a 3-1 win in their Africa Cup of Nations opener.

Nabil Bentaleb played all 90 minutes in the match for Algeria, but he didn't do a ton to make himself noticed. In his defense, for much of the match nobody on Algeria were any good. They looked absolutely terrible and Bentaleb certainly wasn't as bad as others.

Once South Africa put the ball in their own net, things shifted for Algeria. They actually connected a few passes and remembered that they had a striker. It helped that South Africa's goalkeeper was an abomination and allowed a soft second goal, then had a howler for the third.

Bentaleb never stood out, even as Algeria turned things a bit. It was tough in such a strange match, but he did work hard and showed off the range that Tottenham Hotspur fans have seen so much as he covered a ton of ground defensively.

Ideally, Algeria would go out of the tournament early and Bentaleb would return to Spurs, but that's unlikely. Algeria are a good team and will likely advance, so we might as well hope that Bentaleb plays well. He didn't have much of a chance today, but hopefully that will change next match as Algeria resemble a bit more of the good football team we know they are.