Only a massive upset will deny Algeria chance to advance to the final round of African Nations Cup qualifier as they take on the Scorpions of The Gambia at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida on Friday night.
A 2-1 away win at the Independence Stadium in the first leg of their first round tie in February means Les Fennecs are in the driving seat in the tie and expected to easily go through. But the home side do play under a cloud of letting a lead slip and losing 2-1 last Sunday night in a World Cup tie with Mali.
The Scorpions of The Gambia arrived in Algeria on Monday directly from Tanzania, where they had lost 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier at the weekend to a late penalty. But a week before they had a morale boosting draw with highly-fancied Morocco, which will give them some hope against Algeria.
Vahid Halilhodžić’s side will again look to the leadership of Majid Bougherra in defence and hope that Rafik Djebour might yet return from injury to once again lead the attack. He missed the last match against Mali.
Vahid Halilhodžić said Wednesday he expects a good reaction from players Friday against Gambia in second leg of the second round of Cup African Nations CAN-2013 qualifiers.
“Against Gambia, I expect a good reaction from players who I asked to forget the defeat against Mali, and get back to work. We must win this game to gain confidence,” Halilhodžić told a press conference held in Algiers.
Algeria have hosted Gambia twice before in competitive matches, beating them 1-0 in Algiers in the 2008 Nations Cup qualifiers and 1-0 in Blida in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.