Internationals: Mahrez Stars For Algeria On Debut

There were mixed fortunes for the Foxes on international duty over the weekend as Riyad Mahrez, Jeff Schlupp, Liam Moore and Simonas Stankevicius all saw action for their respective nations.
For Riyad Mahrez, who is in Algeria’s provisional list for their World Cup campaign in Brazil later this month, the Desert Fox’s friendly with Armenia in Switzerland marked his international debut. 

The 23-year-old City midfielder started on the left flank for his country and didn’t harm his chances of making the final 23-man squad with a hugely impressive performance that saw him set up the second goal for his side in a 3-1 win. 

Essaid Belkalem opened the scoring in the early stages when he fired in after a corner, before Mahrez provided the pass for team-mate Nail Ghilas to rifle in a second after just 20 minutes. Islam Slimani put them 3-0 up before half time with a close range finish, while Armenia substitute Artur Sarkisov grabbed a consolation early in the second half. 

Elsewhere City defender Jeff Schlupp won his second cap for Ghana away to Louis Van Gaal’s Netherlands side on Saturday night in a tricky fixture.

The Dutch raced into an early lead through Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie, with that goal proving to be decisive as the game ended 1-0 to the hosts. 

Schlupp played 69 minutes before being substituted in Rotterdam, but following the match, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah confirmed that unfortunately the City man was among three players to miss out on his final 23-man squad for Brazil. 

Over in France, Liam Moore continued to play a key role for England Under-20s in the Toulon Tournament as their Group B campaign came to a close.

Gareth Southgate’s side needed a point in the final match against Colombia to ensure they reached the third-place play-off fixture against Portugal on Sunday, and once again, Moore played the full 90 minutes. 

Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow got England off to a promising start with a first half goal following a defensive mix-up, but Colombia’s Jhoao Rodriguez levelled with a close-range finish in the second half. 

England saw out the draw though, which saw them qualify for the play-off game ahead of South Korea on goal difference. 

That match took place on Sunday, and once again Southgate called upon Moore to head up his defence against a talented Portuguese outfit in what turned out to be an incredibly tight game.

Portugal eventually ran out 1-0 winners, leaving England's youngsters a creditable fourth. The decisive moment came when Ricardo Horta was on hand to fire home from close range after a fortunate deflection saw the ball fall into his path.

Finally, City’s Under-18s striker Simonas Stankevicius was part of the senior Lithuania squad that took part in the Baltic Cup tournament over in Latvia, and picked up another two caps. 

The first came as a late substitute in a tough semi-final fixture against Finland, which Lithuania won 1-0 thanks to a Arvyday Novikovas strike at the Ventspils Stadium. 

That set up a final against host nation Latvia, which Stankevicius entered as a substitute in the 75th minute. But he couldn’t prevent his side from being edged out 1-0 by the spirited hosts, who went on to lift the trophy.

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