The ghost of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations seems to be back with Algeria in Cameroon. That year, The Fenec Foxes failed to win all their group stages matches, drawing two and losing one.  

Pressure is on them agains going into the final round of Group E matches on Thursday on the back one draw and one loss.  

The defending champions’ quest to retain the title they won in 2019 got off to on a wrong footing when they drew their opening match with Sierra Leone and went onto to lose their second encounter to Equatorial Guinea, moving from bad to worse.  

With only one point collected out of six so far, The Fennec Foxes need only a win to stand any chance of going to the next round. Anything less will end their stay in Cameroon. 

A win will leave Algeria on four, tied with Ivory Coast but having the edge over The Elephant on head-to-head result.  

The likely qualifying headache… 

Group E could end up creating a qualifying headache to the interpreters of the law of the game. In the even two team are equal on points, head-to-head result will be the first to be looked at.  

However, this group poses problem. If Algeria who are sitting on one point get the three points against Ivory Coast, that would leave them tied on four points, but Algeria with a better a head-to-head result. That would all seem easy to figure out up until the match between Sierra Leone and Equatorial Leone produces draw, leaving Equatorial Guinea also on four points. This would certainly through the head-to-head criterion since Algeria would have a better head-to-head result over Ivory Coast, but an inferior head-to-head stat to Equatorial Guinea who have an inferior head-to-head stat to Ivory Coast. In such a scenario the goal difference would then apply. 

The unlikely scenario… 

The unexpected upset coming out of this group would a situation when Algeria wins by a huge margin against Ivory and Equatorial Guinea gets maximum points against  Sierra Leone. This could well leave Ivory Coast starring elimination in the eyes with a chance of failing to go through even as one of the four best thirds.  

Previous results 

Ivory Coast results 
Ivory Coast 1 – 0 Equatorial Guinea (LOSS)
Ivory Coast 2 – 2 Sierra Leone (DRAW) 

Equatorial Guinea results 
Equatorial Guinea 0 – 1 Ivory Coast (LOSS)
Equatorial Guinea 1 – 0 Algeria (WIN) 

Sierra Leone results 
Sierra Leone 0 – 0 Algeria (DRAW)
Sierra Leone 2 – 2 Ivory Coast (DRAW) 

Algeria results 
Algeria 0 – 0 Sierra Leone (DRAW)
Algeria 0 – 1 Equatorial Guinea (LOSS)

Today’s fixtures 
Sierra Leone v Equatorial Guinea
Ivory Coast v Algeria 

Sierra Leone versus Equatorial Guinea Match Facts: 

This will be the first encounter between Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Sierra Leone have only picked up one victory from their seven matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (D3 L3), though they’d scored as many goals in their last match (2 vs Côte d’Ivoire), as they had done in their previous six combined in the competition (2). 

Equatorial Guinea have only lost two of their eight group stage games at the Africa Cup of Nations (W4 D2), keeping a clean sheet in three of their last four such matches, including last time out versus Algeria. 

No Equatorial Guinea player has been directly involved in more shots at this edition of the Africa Cup of Nations than José Machín (7 – 3 shots, 4 chances created), while Machín has had more touches (115) and attempted more passes (91) than any of his teammates at this tournament. 

Coming into matchday three of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Sierra Leone’s Mohamed Nbalie Kamara has made more saves than any other goalkeeper (12), including saving Franck Kessié’s penalty last time out against Côte d’Ivoire.

Ivory Coast versus Sudan Match Facts: 

Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria are meeting in the Africa Cup of Nations for the ninth time. Côte d’Ivoire hold the upper hand with three wins to Algeria’s two (D3), although their last encounter saw Djamel Belmadi’s men prevail on penalties in the quarter-finals of the 2019 edition. 

Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria will face off for the fifth time in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, the most played fixture in that time alongside Ghana-Mali. Their last four encounters have produced 15 goals. 

Algeria could fail to win all three group stage games at a single edition of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2017 (D2 L1). Coming into MD3 at this year’s tournament, no side has attempted more shots than Algeria (32), who have yet to find the net. 

Côte d’Ivoire have lost just two of their last 16 matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (W7 D7), with both defeats coming against Morocco (in 2019 and 2017). Indeed, Côte d’Ivoire are unbeaten in their last five in the competition (W3 D2). 

Algeria’s Sofiane Feghouli has scored two goals in the Africa Cup of Nations – both have come against Côte d’Ivoire: in 2013 and 2019. 

Qualifying criteria   

Below are the qualifying criteria as per the rules of the tournament:    

In case of equality between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:    

a)  The greatest number of points obtained in the match between the two teams concerned;

b)  The goal difference in all group matches;

c)  The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches

d)  A drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee

In case of equality between more than two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below:    

a) The greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned; 

b)  The best goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;

c)  The greatest number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned; 

d) If after applying criteria(a)to (c), two teams are still tied, (a) to (c) criteria are again applied to matches played between the two teams in question to determine the final ranking of the two teams. If this procedure does not allow separating them, the criteria listed from (e) to (g) are applied in the indicated order; 

e) The goal difference in all group matches; 

f) The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches; 

g) A drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee 

Criteria of defining the best 4 thirds in the groups    

The four best teams among those ranked third will be determined as follows:    

a)     greater number of points obtained in all group matches;

b)    goal difference resulting from all group matches;

c)     greater number of goals scored in all group matches;

d)    drawing of lots byCAFOrganisingCommittee – additional reporting by CAF Online 

 

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