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14 April 2024

Egypt prepared for Algeria ‘war’

The die is cast for the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between fierce regional rivals Egypt and Algeria here less than two months on from when two qualifying matches for a World Cup ticket left a long trail of bitterness and violence.

Egypt striker Amr Zaki heightened the tensions when he said on his personal website that he would not be interested in joining English Premier League side Portsmouth because they have two Algeria players on their books – Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda.

The last time both teams clashed at the Nations Cup was six years ago in the Tunisian coastal city of Sousse with Algeria running away 2-1 winners.

That was Egypt’s last loss in the event to date and they have since compiled an unbeaten record of 17 matches in the competition.

Mohamed Zidan has caused some controversy by likening this match to “a war”, which Egypt have to win to prove they are a better team than Algeria.

Sayed Mowad has followed up by saying the champions will teach their north African rivals a lesson in football.

“The next game will be on the pitch away from any troubles, but we will teach the Algerians a lesson in football,” Moawad said.

“We want to prove that we failed to qualify for the World Cup only because of certain circumstances.”

Algeria too have been clear they have to win today to prove that their victory last year in Sudan was not a flash in the pan.

In November’s World Cup decider the Algerians took a late first half lead, then blocked everything the Pharaohs threw at them with young goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi playing the game of his life.