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The play-off in Sudan saw tensions run high...

Football took a back seat after Algeria's 1-0 victory over Egypt in the vital World Cup qualifying playoff in Sudan on Wednesday night as violence marred the event.

Sources report that no fewer than 15,000 riot police on the streets of Khartoum failed to fully prevent attacks on supporters.

While the Egyptian team bus made it safely to the airport, fans were reportedly left stranded on the streets in their buses after bouts of rock-throwing.

Local officials attempted to play down the incident, with Sudanese Football Federation secretary Majdi Sahms al-Deen saying to Nile TV, "The issue isn't as great as was reported. There was an attack, but it wasn't big."

The Egyptian government treated the incident as a high priority, with the Minister of Information stating to Orbit TV that the country's president was working to ensure that all traveling Egyptians came home safely.

Meanwhile, Algeria striker Rafik Saifi stoked sectarian fires with some of his after-match declarations.

"In Islam there are two branches - one is that of the true Muslims and the other is not," he said, stating that Algerians fell into the former camp.

This came against a backdrop of violence against Egyptian-owned businesses in Algeria committed by hooligans.

The South African Press Association noted that an Egyptian telecom company, Orascom, had its Algiers facility burnt and looted by rioters, who caused US$5 million worth of theft and damage prior to the game.

World governing body FIFA, meanwhile, have yet to comment publicly on the troubles.

Ewan Macdonald, Goal.com

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