Tunisia Stand Between Algeria And African Unbeaten Record


File photo: Algeria’s forward Riyad Mahrez (4th-L) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Algeria and Guinea at the 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital Cairo on July 7, 2019. Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

 

If Riyad Mahrez-captained Algeria avoid defeat in a friendly away to Tunisia on Friday they will create a 27-match unbeaten record for an African national team. 

Manchester City winger Mahrez scored the lone goal when African champions Algeria edged Mali 1-0 in Blida at the weekend to match the record created by the Ivory Coast in 2013.

Superb one-touch passing led to an opening for the former African Footballer of the Year on 57 minutes and he beat goalkeeper Djigui Diarra from close range.

Having matched the Ivorians’ record, Algeria will face a tough task going one better as Tunisia are ranked second in Africa, two places above Algeria.

Defender Ramy Bensebaini, who plays for German Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach, attributes the success of the ‘Desert Foxes’ to never-say-die spirit.

“We never give up, that is why we are so difficult to defeat,” he explained. “We are always ready for a tight tussle.

“Every match is extremely difficult for us because being African champions and unbeaten for so long means opponents are extremely motivated.

“Apart from a wonderful squad that pull in the same direction, we have a great coach in Djamel Belmadi. As Riyad (Mahrez) said recently, he is a national treasure.”

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Starting with a 4-1 away victory over Togo in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on November 18 2018, Algeria have won 19 matches, drawn seven, scored 56 goals and conceded 17.

Only nine of the 26 competitive and friendly matches were at home with five away and 12 at neutral venues. Twenty-three opponents were African and they also met Colombia, Mexico and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

The widest winning margin was five goals, achieved at home to Zambia and Botswana in 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Should Algeria avoid defeat in Tunisia, the next target would be the world record held by Brazil, who went unbeaten for 36 matches between 1993 and 1996.

AFP


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