Ivory Coast eye revenge against Algeria in AFCON

Riyad Mahrez's (L) Algeria are on the verge of elimination from Afcon 2021 while Ivory Coast’s forward Wilfred Zaha (R) is seen during the Afcon 2021 football match between Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • Now with four points, the Elephants aren’t safe either but a kick towards Algeria could give them more relief at the cliff. 

Defending champions Algeria are in a spot of bother. Their title defence at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Cameroon could be no more if they do not produce a star show tomorrow.

The Desert Foxes have failed to win their opening two Group E matches, and in an odd manner.
Coach Djamel Belmadi’s side couldn’t convert their bag of chances against Sierra Leone, sharing points after a scoreless affair on January 11.

Then three days ago, Algeria was stunned by Equatorial Guinea who relied on Esteban Obiang’s flick to take three points off the North African outfit.

With just a point, Algeria is bottom of the pile, and they will need a miracle of significant proportions to defeat leaders Ivory Coast at the Japoma Stadium in Douala to illuminate their chances of progress.

It is not new that an Afcon title holder is in such trouble. Ghana suffered a first-round exit in 1984 and the same happened to 1988 winners Cameroon two years later in Algeria.

Then 2012 champions Zambia were blown away in 2013 in South Africa, Ivory Coast who won the 2015 title as well couldn’t find their feet in 2017 in Gabon.

Upon winning their first title on home soil in 1990, Algeria didn’t exceed the first round of the next edition in Senegal in 1992. Is it now a case of déjà vu?

Belmadi’s side had its 35-match unbeaten run ended by the Nzalang of Equatorial Guinea but still has some quality to turnaround their fortunes in Riyad Mahrez, Yacine Brahimi, Ramy Bensebaini and Baghdad Bounedjah. 

Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle bemoaned his team’s 2-2 draw against Sierra Leone after his goal keeper Ali Sangare struggled to collect a ball at the death. 

Now with four points, the Elephants aren’t safe either but a kick towards Algeria could give them more relief at the cliff. 

And nothing fuels the Ivorians like the need for revenge. They were eliminated by Algeria 4-3 via a shootout after a 1-all draw in Suez during the quarterfinals of the previous edition in Egypt three years ago. 

Similarly, Algeria beat the West Africans 3-2 in extra time thanks to Hameur Bouazza’s goal in Cabinda to advance to the semifinals of the 2010 edition in Angola. 

Attackers Wilfred Zaha, Max Gradel, Sebastien Haller and Nicolas Pepe have enough motivation to take the game to the Algerians. 

AFCON 2021

GROUP F - 7pm
Ivory Coast vs.  Algeria 
Douala
Sierra Leone  vs.  E. Guinea 
Limbe

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