AFCON 2013: Algeria v Togo Preview

By IndepthAfrica
In 2013 Africa Cup of Nations
Jan 25th, 2013
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_65509939_feghouliTogo captain Emmanuel Adebayor knows Saturday’s Group D encounter with Algeria will be “tough” as both sides look for their first points in this year’s African Nations Cup.

Both teams went down to late goals in their opening games with Togo beaten by an 87th-minute Gervinho goal in their 2-1 defeat by favourites Ivory Coast.

Even more agonisingly for Algeria, their North African derby with Tunisia was settled by Youssef Msakni’s injury-time free-kick, the only goal of a drab game.

The defeats leave Algeria and Togo third and fourth respectively with Saturday’s match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium vital for both sides if they are to fight for the expected second spot behind favourites Ivory Coast.

Adebayor is under no illusions and told ftftogo.com: “Now they have lost their first game just like us. It will be a tough match because we must take the three points to be in a good position for the final game.

“So it will be an open game and I hope that Togo will prevail.”

However, the 28-year-old has drawn confidence from the performance against the Elephants regardless of the result.

“This is a game we can win because we were on a par with the Ivorians to the end but we came away with a defeat,” he added.

“We players, we went through the game, we talked about our shortcomings and we have made good resolutions to move forward.”

Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic has revealed he may make changes for the game.

In quotes on supersport.com, he said: “Perhaps there will be changes in order to take risks, even if in the final 20 minutes I take a chance and stick on four strikers.”

The 60-year-old has vast managerial experience, taking in such diverse destinations as Paris St Germain, Trabzonspor and Ivory Coast before being appointed as Algeria coach in summer 2011.

They failed to qualify for last year’s tournament but are FIFA’s second-ranked African team behind Ivory Coast.

Halilhodzic is quick to try to dampen any false expectation, saying: “Everywhere people were saying ‘we’re going to win the Nations Cup’.

“On my side I said we could go very far or still get knocked out in the first round.

“This ambition to win the competition is not unnatural, but a little artificial. It has created an atmosphere which has, in turn, created pressure.

“I know the Nations Cup, so I’m not surprised.”

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