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Preview: Algeria vs. Equatorial Guinea

Algerian supporters are looking for a response from their team against Equatorial Guinea after the 2021 AFCON favorites slumped to an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Sierra Leone. The Fennecs lacked sharpness and finishing against a Sierra Leone side that was up for the occasion, but the critical response following the result may be what manager Djamel Belmadi’s side need to spark them to life. Equatorial Guinea were a stern challenge for Ivory Coast during their 1-0 defeat to the Elephants, but despite the effort the Nzalang Nacional will likely need to avoid defeat for their knockout stage hopes.

Algeria manager Belmadi was incensed throughout the scoreless draw against Sierra Leone, and no player is safe from the bench based on his comments following the match. According to the gaffer, even Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez is not above being criticized and when it comes to Algeria, Belmadi “forgets the names” and works based on performance. Despite Belmadi’s declarations, there is not expected to be too much of a shakeup in his starting eleven. Winger Adam Ounas and defensive midfielder Ramiz Zerrouki will be unavailable, but AC Milan central midfielder and Algeria starter Ismaël Bennacer is back from suspension. The Fennecs will be aiming for a comfortable victory even as Belmadi warns “there are no small teams”.

The Equatoguinean team are energized and in full belief after challenging the Ivorians and now having their full squad available with no Covid-19 absences. Starting goalkeeper Jesús Owono and veteran backup Felipe Ovono were both out for the match against Ivory Coast, leaving third string keeper Manuel Sapunga in between the posts. However, the talented young Owono of La Liga’s Alavés should be back in action on Sunday. Manager Juan Ficha will be back as well after missing the first match due to Covid, giving the Nzalang Nacional an important boost. Captain and current club free agent Emilio Nsue took responsibility on social media for missing crucial chances, but stated that the team is determined to stay positive and remain united.

Links from Algerian and Equatoguinean media are below as well as pre-match facts from CAF Online.

Algeria v Equatorial Guinea – Time to react (CAF Online)
Match Facts – Algeria v Equatorial Guinea (CAF Online)
ALG – EQG : Plus droit à l’erreur! (DZ Foot)

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