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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Ivory Coast boss Beaumelle relishing Algeria showdown

23:04 BST 18/08/2021
Ivory Coast, Algeria - Afcon 2019
The Elephants were eliminated by the African champions via penalties in the quarter-final stage of the last Afcon in Egypt

Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle is looking forward to facing champions Algeria in the group stage of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon and is relishing the prospect of a rematch with the reigning champions.

Tuesday’s draw in Yaounde pitched the 2015 Afcon champions against Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and Algeria in Group E.

Ivory Coast were defeated by the Desert Foxes in the last-eight stage of the tournament two years ago, who went on to lift the title for the second time in their history.

After playing out a 1-1 draw at the end of extra-time in Suez, both teams took turns in the penalty shoot-out which ended in a 4-3 loss for Ivory Coast.

Beaumelle succeeded Ibrahim Kamara at the helm in 2020 and is viewing the encounter, scheduled for the Japoma Stadium on January 20, as a rematch for the quarter-final showdown two years ago.

“In our group, playing Algeria is still fantastic,” Beaumelle told Caf website. “If I remember correctly, Cote d'Ivoire lost to them in the quarter-finals during the last Afcon in Egypt, so it could be a rematch.

"The most important thing is to have three good games and get through that first round, after all.”

Sierra Leone are returning to the Afcon stage for the first time in 26 years, while Equatorial Guinea are set to make their third appearance in the competition.

The Frenchman stated that he is not underrating any team that will feature in Cameroon, and he disclosed that certain group games ought to be considered like finals.

“Everyone has their chance in this Afcon. We have games that could be African Cup finals,” he added. “We must not underestimate the teams which according to the press are second series. I have a lot of respect for the different teams.”

Ivory Coast are gunning for their third success in the continental competition having previously won the title in Senegal 1992 and Equatorial Guinea in 2015.