Algeria out to rekindle old form in Blida

Algeria out to rekindle old form in Blida
Riyad Mahrez of Algeria during the Afcon Group B match between Senegal and Algeria on the 23 January 2017 at Franceville , Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

by Bertin Basson

Friday Oct 12, 2018. 09:00

Algeria will be aiming to reignite the sort of form they showed pre Gabon 2017 when they welcome Benin to the Stade Mustapha Tchaker on Friday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Kick-off is at 21h45 CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Fennec Foxes suffered four successive defeats before a 1-1 draw away to Gambia last time out, and despite boasting the likes of Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez in their squad it has been a fall from grace for the North African's.

Ranked within the top 20 in the world four years ago, Algeria now sit in 69th place following their failure to qualify for this year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.

In total, Algeria have won just two of their last 13 matches and former international Djamel Belmadi, who was appointed as head coach in August, will be desperate to lead the Foxes to an upturn in results as they aim to book their ticket to Cameroon.

Mahrez's form for his national team has come under particular scrutiny, but Belmadi has this week expressed his support for the wing-wizard.

“I have faith in Mahrez," Belmadi is quoted as saying." My idea is that good players like him, you need to love them. I know that what he did at Leicester and what he’s doing at Manchester City is different to what he’s showing with the national team.“

Algeria beat Togo in their opening qualifier last year and currently sit atop the group on four points alongside Benin.

The Squirrels edged past Gambia in Cotonou before a goalless draw away to Togo in their most recent match.

In eight previous meetings, Algeria are yet to lose to Benin with six wins and two draws from their allotted clashes.

The reverse fixture will take place at the Stade de l'Amitié in Cotonou on Tuesday.

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