Algeria, Burkinabe set sights on World Cup
Algeria and Burkina Faso will look to seal their qualification for the 2014 Fifa World Cup when they meet in the second leg of their playoff tie at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida on Tuesday. Kickoff is at 8:15pm.
The first leg, which was played in Ouagadougou a month ago, ended 3-2 in favour of the Stallions and the West African side heads into this leg with the slight advantage of knowing that any draw will be good enough to send them to Brazil.
Talismanic forward Alain Traore has returned from injury to join a potent attack which includes the likes of Jonathan Pitroipa and Aristide Bance, but Belgian coach Paul Put is counting on the whole team to clinch their first-ever World Cup qualification.
“We're going to Blida to write the history of Burkinabe football. My players are aware of it; they understand,” Put told L’Observateur.
“That is why I am proud of them because they are aware and they are very disciplined.
“We will do everything for the country, because this is not just about the players, this is for the whole of Burkina Faso.
“We’ve been working hard on our defence because we noticed that the opponents have dangerous players upfront.
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“They have a special way of playing and are dangerous on the counter-attack, that’s why we’ll work on strengthening our defensive patterns before focusing on the attackers.”
Algeria, on the other hand, will be hoping to use their home ground advantage to bounce back and qualify for their second straight World Cup after featuring in the 2010 edition in South Africa.
The Fennec Foxes will be missing players like Adlene Guedioura and Rafik Djebbour due to injury, but experienced midfielder Mehdi Mostefa believes their squad is still strong enough.
“Obviously, since they are important players, their absence will be felt on the field and also outside but we have other players to compensate for it,” he told DZFoot.
“We have a full squad and everything we need to do well.
“We know we must score and not concede goals; that is the most important thing. We will do everything; we have a lot of training sessions to work on our tactics and how we’re going to neutralize their attacks.
“They have fast players, great players but I think we should focus on ourselves.
“We also have very good players who play in big European clubs, we attack with pace and we are solid at the back, especially at home.
“I think the help from our supporters will be very important and that we are going to do great things. We all have a common goal, which is to go to the World Cup, and I think that we can do it.”