Monday’s opening Group D match of the Africa Cup of Nations saw former winners Algeria give up a penalty in the second half, which allowed underdog Angola to force a 1-1 draw.
This implied that Algeria, who were named winners in 2019, would continue to lose in the finals.
The Algerians took the lead through a well-executed goal in the 19th minute from Baghdad Bounedjah, but their poor defending proved costly when Nabil Bentaleb was fouled and handed away a penalties, which Angola substitute Mabululu scored in the 68th minute.
Since winning the Cup of Nations title in Cairo, Algeria has now lost four of their five games in the finals.
At the previous edition in Cameroon two years ago, they made an astonishing attempt to win the title again, but they were defeated by tiny Equatorial Guinea and had to return home early with just one point from the group games.
They dominated the opening stages with a deft passing style and incisive sprinting, seeming eager to erase those memories.
Bounedjah broke through Angola’s two centre backs to intercept a long ball over the top of the defence and score with a forceful shot to give them the lead.
He scored a fantastic bicycle kick six minutes later, but the attempt was disallowed because it was just barely offside.
It would have been a strong candidate for goal of the tournament early on, had it mattered.
But with 22 minutes remaining, Algeria lost their lead and were unable to capitalise on their advantage.
Angola’s lone genuine opportunity of the match came when Bentaleb tackled Mabululu clumsily from behind, kicking him in the calf as he attempted to clear the ball.
Mabululu nearly failed the kick when the ball just crossed the line and he struck the underside of the bar.
In a feeble attempt to regain the lead, Algeria created a good chance seven minutes into stoppage time, but Fares Chaibi’s free kick was expertly saved.