18 November 2013

Algeria/Burkina Faso: Last African Place At World Cup Up for Grabs in Blida

The battle for the final World Cup ticket from Africa will be decided later on Tuesday 19 November between hosts Algeria and Burkina Faso at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida, where Algeria have not lost in 19 matches since 2002.

The two sides played a friendly match in June, at the same venue with Algeria winning 2-0 but on Tuesday the stakes are higher and Algeria need to overturn a 3-2 loss from the first leg playoff played last month in Ouagadougou.

Algeria are favoured to win, but ex-skipper Anthar Yahia told the media ahead of the match that all talk amounts to nothing as matters will be settled on the pitch "Algeria will be the favourites to win going by their record against Burkina Faso. This is what the media have suggested, but the most important thing is really what happens on the pitch," said Esperance of Tunisia defender Yahia.

"Burkina Faso reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and they have proved to be a very good team. They only need a draw to qualify and so it could be difficult for Algeria, who also need to be cautious when going forward."

The Stallions of Burkina Faso arrived in Algiers on Sunday 17 November before proceeding to match venue Blida. Algerian coach, Vahid Halihodzic was quoted in local press saying he is confident of an Algeria win and was pleased with his charges' performance in the first leg where he thought The Desert Foxes were unfortunate to come away with a loss.

Burkinabe coach Paul Put welcomes the Alain Traore, the playmaker who sparked Burkina Faso's fine run at this year's Africa Cup of Nations with stellar performances in the opening matches before injury put paid his tournament. Traore's combination with Jonathan Pitroipa made The Stallions a formidable side and Paul Put will be hoping to rekindle some of that magic in Blida.

Alain Traore has however not played for the national side since the injury he picked up at AFCON and although the quality of the 24-year-old striker is not in doubt Burkina Faso will wait to see how much of an impact he will have.

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