Defending Champions, Algeria, and two-time champions, Cote d’Ivoire, will lock horns in the Match Day 3 of Group E in the ongoing TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameron 2021, today, January 20, 2022 in the Japoma Stadium, Douala, at 16:00 GMT.
The Les Fennecs of Algeria will need a win to avoid an early unexpected exit, while the Elephants need a point to secure their place in the Round of 16. In the last edition in Egypt 2019, Algeria ousted the Elephants in the quarterfinals, beating them on penalties.
Today’s encounter promises to be very exciting as the Elephants seek revenge whilst the Les Fennecs will need to repeat what happened 3 year ago to escape a humiliating Group stage exit. Patrice Beaumelle, Head Coach of Cote d’Ivoire, said at the pre-match conference that “even if our four points can qualify us, we are not here to make calculations. We are going to play to win”.
Djamel Belmadi, Coach of Algeria, believes his team is just lacking efficiency during this tournament but against the Elephants, “this match could be an early final” and “we have no choice” but “we must win to continue the competition”.
About the pressure, the head coach said: “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”.
Cote d’Ivoire lead the group on four points, one more than Equatorial Guinea. Sierra Leone (2 points) and Algeria (one) in that order.
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 the Leone Stars and the Nzalang Nacional.
Head to Head
Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria are meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations for the ninth time. Côte d’Ivoire hold the upper hand with three wins to Algeria’s two whilst three of the matches ended in a draw. Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria will face off for the fifth time in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, the most played fixture in that time alongside Ghana-Mali. Their last four encounters have produced 15 goals.
Algeria could fail to win all three group stage games at a single edition of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2017 (D2 L1). Coming into Match Day 3 at this year’s tournament, no side has attempted more shots than Algeria (32), who ironically, is yet to find the net.
Côte d’Ivoire has lost just two of its last 16 matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (W7 D7), with both defeats coming against Morocco (in 2019 and 2017). Indeed, Côte d’Ivoire is unbeaten in its last five games in the competition (W3 D2).
Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli has scored two goals in the Africa Cup of Nations – both have come against Côte d’Ivoire in 2013 and 2019. Much is expected of him today as his side seeks to avoid a second successive defeat in the tournament as well as an early exit.
Other matches today
In the other Group E game, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea are eyeing a historic lace in the second round, which would be the first ever for the Leone Stars and a third in as many appearances for the Nzalang Nacional.
This will be the first encounter between Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations. Sierra Leone has only picked up one victory from its seven matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (D3 L3), though the team has scored as many goals in its last match (2 vs Côte d’Ivoire), as it had done in its previous six combined in the competition (2).
Equatorial Guinea has only lost two of its eight group stage games at the Africa Cup of Nations (W4 D2), keeping a clean sheet in three of the last four such matches.
Elsewhere, at 19:00 GMT, the last Group F matches will be played with The Gambia taking on Tunisia whilst Mali faces Mauritania in the West African derby.