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Tanzania v Algeria: Desert Foxes determined to dominate

By Opta
Riyah Mahrez - cropped

Cairo, June 30: Djamel Belmadi vowed to unleash his strongest team on Tanzania as in-form Algeria aim to make another statement at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Desert Foxes beat Senegal, the tournament's top-ranked team, 1-0 in their previous outing and are now in pole position to top a tough Group C.

Only an unlikely win for bottom-placed Tanzania could deny Belmadi's men, who began the tournament with a 2-0 victory over Kenya.

Algeria appear poised to seriously challenge for a second continental crown and will be taking no chances in Cairo on Monday, with captain Riyad Mahrez seemingly in line to start.

"We respect Tanzania, but that doesn't mean we won't go in at full strength," head coach Belmadi said. "We already beat the number one team already in Africa, Senegal.

"Not conceding a goal is a proof of our strength... but if a team wins four or five games 3-2 and wins the title, I say okay."

Algeria are assured of a place in the knockout rounds regardless of their next result, while Tanzania are playing for pride following two successive losses.

"We'll play the Tanzania game while comfortable and we want to progress far in the tournament," Manchester City winger Mahrez said.

"I'm required to be the difference but that can't happen without my team-mates. Belmadi works on the tactical side and that's what we missed before."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tanzania - Mbwana Samatta

Emmanuel Amunike admits it could be difficult to motivate his Tanzania team in the wake of the dispiriting 3-2 defeat to Kenya.

Samatta, at least, should have no such issues - the Genk striker, who hit 23 league goals last term, scored in that match and will want to impress the Premier League teams that are reportedly tracking his progress.

Algeria - Aissa Mandi

Real Betis defender Mandi has been a key factor in Algeria's unblemished defensive record to date.

High-profile clubs have been linked with the 27-year-old in the past and could be persuaded to take another look if he continues to keep Africa's best at bay.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Tanzania have lost four of the five games they have played at the Africa Cup of Nations, the only exception being a 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast in March 1980. - Algeria are aiming to win three group stage games for the first time since 1990, when they lifted the trophy for the only time in their history. - Belmadi's side have kept two consecutive clean sheets, having conceded at least two goals in each of their previous four matches at the Africa Cup of Nations. - Andre Ayew is the only player to have been involved in more Africa Cup of Nations goals (eight) than Riyad Mahrez (six) since the Algeria man's tournament debut in January 2015.

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Story first published: Sunday, June 30, 2019, 21:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 30, 2019
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