With one win under their belt hosts Algeria are looking to maintain their perfect record at the 2022 African Nations Championship with a potentially difficult matchup against Ethiopia in Tuesday’s later Group A matchup. The Fennecs struggled to capitalize on the opportunities they created in their 1-0 victory over Libya but there were plenty of positive signs for one of the favorites to win the competition with a win guaranteeing qualification for the quarterfinals. Ethiopia controlled possession well in their 0-0 draw against Mozambique but poor finishing and a drop off in the Walias’ level after halftime gives coach Wubetu Abate plenty to contemplate.
Algeria coach Madjid Bougherra, a leader during his playing days on the national team, is taking all measures to keep his squad from looking ahead. Bougherra told his players to avoid social media in the buildup to Tuesday’s match stating that “the hardest part remains to be done, nothing is certain, we must avoid slacking off, give everything to win this second meeting.” However the coach believes that the pressure is reduced on his players after achieving victory in their opener.
Midfielder and CR Belouizdad player Zakaria Draoui stated the Fennecs intend to show the quality of Algerian domestic football with Draoui showing well against Libya along with club teammates Houssem Mrezigue (Man of the Match against Libya), Mokhtar Belkhiter and Youssef Laouafi who did well at the fullback positions. Midfielder Ahmed Kendouci of ES Sétif and USM Alger forward Abderrahmane Meziane struggled to live up to expectations in the opener but are players to watch in the attack. Striker Aymen Mahious took his match winning penalty kick well but is eager to score from the run of play.
Ethiopia appeared on their way to a victory against Mozambique with their strong start and domination of possession. However the absence of all-time leading scorer Getaneh Kebede, who retired from national team duty after being called up, was very noticeable as Saint George SC attackers Chernet Gugsa and Amanuel Gebremichael failed to convert clear opportunities. Walias coach Abate acknowledged the odds are against his team not only due to Algeria’s home advantage but the fact the hosts had an extra day of rest. Abate gave his players a day of rest to recharge mentally and physically.
The experienced manager expects his team to play with full confidence and with nothing to lose, a sentiment echoed by veteran midfielder Mesoud Mohammed who stated the Walias need to keep attacking and create their own luck. Unlike the matchup against Mozambique the defense will be regularly tested including goalkeeper Fasil Gebremichael, who continued to show moments of insecurity on aerial balls and must avoid the simple mistakes that have spoiled Ethiopia’s chances on the road in competitive matches.
More on the match from CAF Online as well as Algerian and Ethiopian media is below.