Winner of all its group matches, Algeria welcomes this Friday night the Ivory Coast for a place in the semi-finals of this 7th edition of CHAN. A little later, Mauritania and Senegal meet for a hot derby of the UFOA-A.
The Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki will surely be full again tonight. Since the beginning of the CHAN, the 12th Algerian "man" has been answering present in the stands. The local Fennecs have also been clinical on the field. Even if Ali Fergani is rightly concerned about the lack of offensive efficiency, the men of Magid Bougherra have, so far, fulfilled their contract. They won 1-0 their three group games against Libya, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
Algeria will have to win three others to succeed their great rival, Morocco, double champions, who did not come to Algeria to defend their crown. The first set of knockout comes this Friday night against Côte d'Ivoire. Ivory Coast had shown worrying signs in their first match of the competition losing 1-0 to Senegal. But since then, they held DR Congo (0-0) and broke the lock of the Ugandan defense (3-1). With their appetite growing with each game, the Elephants hope to beat the Fennecs and continue their hunt until February 4. "We used the games against Senegal and DR Congo to succeed against Uganda. We will do our best to score first to see how the Algerian team behaves when it is in this situation. They have never been behind in the score, so it could disturb them," said Souhalio Haidara, coach of Côte d'Ivoire.
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Just after this clash Algeria-Côte d'Ivoire, there follows a derby between Senegal and its neighbor Mauritania. Both nations have finished in first place in their respective groups. The local Lions have shown great signs in the group stages. However, even if they dominated Côte d'Ivoire (1-0) and DR Congo (3-0), they sometimes lose many opportunities. This led to a defeat against Uganda (0-1) on the second day. The Murabitounes have not even conceded a goal yet. After a 0-0 draw against Angola, they beat Mali 1-0. Their first success in a CHAN. During their first participations, they had indeed left the competition each time with three defeats. Their rise had begun against Senegal in 2013. On the road to the CHAN 2014 in South Africa, the Mauritanians had eliminated the Senegalese thanks to a 2-0 victory at home after a 1-0 defeat in Dakar.