Côte d’Ivoire v Algeria – Do or Die
Favorites to go through together from Group E, holders Algeria and two-time champions Cote d’Ivoire lock horns in the matchday 3 with Les Fennecs needing a win to avoid an early unexpected exit from the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021 group stage. Meanwhile Les Elephants need a point to secure their place in the Round of 16.
Cote d’Ivoire lead the group on four points, one more than Equatorial Guinea. Sierra Leone (2 points) and Algeria (one) follow in that order.
Date: 20 January 2022
Time: 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT)
Venue: Japoma Stadium, Douala
Match: Cote d’Ivoire v Algeria
Cote d’Ivoire – A point will do it
A draw will be enough for the Elephants to go through, but they know it’s a tough mission against the defending champions.
After a narrow 1-0 victory against Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire conceded an injury time goal to get just a 2-2 draw with Sierra Leone, in a group that was shuffled by the brave performances and shocking results of both Leone Stars and Nzalang Nacional.
In the last edition in Egypt 2019, Algeria ousted Les Elephants from the quarterfinals, beating them on penalties. The Ivorians might seek revenge this time.
What they said
Patrice Beaumelle (Coach, Cote d’Ivoire)
“Even if our four points can qualify us, we are not here to make calculations. We are going to play to win. Our match against Algeria is a final like the one between Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, but we prefer to focus on our match. We are counting on our goalkeeper Badra Ali. If he is fit, we will trust him because he has already done great things for us.
Max Alain Gradel (Forward, Cote d’Ivoire)
“There will be no feeling of revenge against Algeria who eliminated us in 2019. Since our arrival here, we start every game to win regardless of the opponent. It is the same feeling that will motivate us on Thursday. It will be a great match against Algeria, favorites for the tournament. We are going to respond and show that Côte d’Ivoire is also a great football nation.
Algeria – A must win
Highly pitted to retain their title after a long unbeaten series, Algeria are on the verge of a shocking premature exit with a lone point from their first two games.
A goalless draw with Sierra Leone was followed by a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea, making it a “win or die” situation for Les Fennecs against Cote d’Ivoire.
And a win only will make Djamel Belmadi’s team survive the scare of seeing history repeating itself. After winning their maiden AFCON title at home in 1990, Algeria were knocked out of the group stage in the next edition (Senegal 1992) with a lone point. A scenario that just the three points could avoid.
What they said
Djamel Belmadi (Coach, Algeria)
“This match could be an early final. On Thursday against Cote d’Ivoire, we have no choice. We must win to continue the competition. And we’re going to put all the ingredients for that. Algeria just lacked efficiency during this tournament. About the pressure, we have had it since taking office in 2018. All our matches have been played with pressure, but we have to positively feel this feeling.
Riyad Mahrez (Captain, Algeria)
“I am very optimistic about the result. Apart from efficiency, we played well in this competition. And against Côte d’Ivoire, a match that we absolutely must win, there is not a lot of talk. We must act on the pitch, and we will put all the necessary ingredients. We know that the Algerians are following us. We’re going to give it our all.