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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: ‘They will see this game as payback time’ – Agali expects motivated Algeria vs. Nigeria

12:44 GMT+3 14/07/2019
Riyad Mahrez Algeria Guinea AFCON
The ex-international believes the Foxes will be out on a revenge mission when they face Gernot Rohr’s men in Sunday’s Afcon semi-final
Algeria will be motivated by revenge when they face Nigeria in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final in Cairo, according to Victor Agali.

The Super Eagles spanked Djamel Belmadi’s men 3-1 in the first leg, third round of Caf’s 2018 Fifa World Cup qualification before seeing out a 1-1 draw in Constantine.

This semi-final will be the ninth time these countries meet in Afcon finals history, with the results perfectly balanced (three wins for each side and two draws).

And Agali believes Algeria will go into this showdown with a drive to succeed due to a desire for revenge.

“It’s going to be a difficult one for both sides. Knowing what we did to the Algerians during the World Cup qualifiers, they will see this game as payback time,” Agali told Goal.

“Also, we expect a tough game being [an] Afcon semi-final. It’s going to be a tough game for these tactically disciplined sides. For [Nigeria], we’re okay to get to the final, but it will be a hard task.

“The Algerians are also looking pretty good from all the games scoring ten goals and conceding just one.”

The former Schalke 04 forward also downplayed claims that Belmad’s side have an advantage because they are playing on a north African soil – thus, getting the backing of Egyptian fans.

“I believe football has changed and will continue to change,” he continued.

“A lot of fans appreciate good football and that is what the Super Eagles have been playing all along. We saw that against South Africa and Cameroon.

“So I think it’s the team that wants it most and are able to compose themselves – that is the team the crowd will follow.

“It’s not about playing on north African soil anymore, it’s about what you are ready to give on the field.  I think [Nigeria]  have the edge.”

Nigeria have qualified for the final only once in their last five games at this stage of the competition,  against Mali in 2013.

Algeria emerged as African champions the last time they reached the Afcon semi-finals, beating Nigeria 1-0 thanks to Cherif Oudjani's first-half strike in 1990.