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Algeria-Togo Preview: The Sparrow Hawks in a must win battle against The Fennec Foxes
Togo go head to head with the north African nation at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, knowing that defeat will end any lingering hopes of reaching the quarters
By Dennis Mabuka
Mesbah, Bougherra, Belkalem, Medjani
Lacen, Kadir, Feghouli, Boudebouz
Dare, Mamah, Sadate, Bossou
Komlan, Segbefia, Alaixys, Dove
Togo tactician Didier Six has identified Saturday’s Afcon 2013 Group D encounter with Algeria as a must-win game.
The Hawks go head to head with the north Africans at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Stadium, knowing that another defeat will automatically end any lingering hopes of reaching the quarter-final stage.
Both sides will be bidding to bounce back from late disappointments in opening matches of the tournament.
Algeria were sunk by a late Tunisia winner in the same stadium on Tuesday and now face an uphill battle to reach the last eight while it was a similar story for Togo, who lost 2-1 to Cote d'Ivoire with another late goal denying them what would have been a surprise point.
The outcome of the match against the Ivorians left Togo coach Six seething over his team's disallowed goal. The Hawks cancelled out Yaya Toure’s opener when Jonathan Ayite struck in first-half stoppage time, and had the ball in the back of the net off a corner after the break.
But that effort was ruled out by Cameroon referee Alioum Neant, apparently because the corner had been taken too quickly. Arsenal’s Gervinho then compounded Togo’s plight with the winner two minutes from time.
“There were too many refereeing mistakes. It’s not an excuse, but there were too many abnormal decisions,” Six told reporters. “We must now regroup quickly and get ready for our must win contest against Algeria. We must win because that is the only way we can reach the last eight of the tournament.”
Cote d'Ivoire and Tunisia meet in the earlier game in this group and a draw in this battle would open things up a bit for the two sides, but if the game fails to produce a winner, the hopes of both (Algeria and Togo) will be hanging by a thread.Algeria head coach Vahid Halilhodzic is optimistic that they will prevail over Togo. “The match against Togo will determine our future in this competition. If we get to the quarter-finals you never know what can happen, but we have to get there first and it starts on Saturday against Togo.”
“I have followed the Togo team, they made a super match against Ivory Coast and perhaps they didn't deserve to lose," he said. "They created a lot of opportunities. It is a very strong team physically also."
Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli and Medhi Lacen of Getafe are the players to watch in a largely inexperienced squad for Algeria while Togo will bank heavily on Tottenham Hotspurs striker Emmauel Adebayor, who had a relatively quiet game against the Elephants in the opening match.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic was in charge of Cote d'Ivoire between 2008 and 2010, but prior to that he had managed French clubs Rennes, Lille and Paris Saint Germain.
Algeria’s captain and defensive midfielder Medhi Lacen (pictured right) played in all three of Algeria's 2010 World Cup group stage matches.
Under coach Halilhodzic's command, Algeria has won eight matches and lost only one heading into the Africa Cup of Nations. It was 19th in Fifa's world rankings in December, the best ever for the nation. It is currently ranked 22nd.
Togo are currently ranked 77 on the Fifa table after losing six points, but are still ahead of Angola and Senegal.
Emmanuel Adebayor remains Togo's all-time top scorer with 26 goals.
- Togo had their worst defeat in 1979, losing 7-0 to Morocco, while they registered their greatest victory against Swaziland 6-0 in 2008.
Togo Coach Didier Six played for the French national team for nine years – from 1976 to 1984, earning 52 caps for his country and scoring 13 goals as a winger.
Top 3 Predictions
Algeria 2-0 Togo
- 19.12 %
Algeria 2-1 Togo
- 10.35 %
Algeria 1-0 Togo
- 10.35 %
|Africa Cup of Nations (ACN)||26 Jan 2013||Algeria 0 - Togo 2|
|26 Mar 2013||Algeria 3 - Benin 1||WCQA|
|30 Jan 2013||Algeria 2 - Ivory Coast 2||ACN|
|26 Jan 2013||Algeria 0 - Togo 2||ACN|
|22 Jan 2013||Tunisia 1 - Algeria 0||ACN|
|12 Jan 2013||South Africa 0 - Algeria 0||FR|
|-||El-Arbi Hilal Soudani||Striker|
|-||SI MOHAMED Cédric||Goalkeeper|
|-||Mohamed Amine Aoudia||Striker|
|-||Serge Ognadon Akakpo||Defender|
|-||Kossi Prince Segbefia||Midfielder|