Belmadi: We respected our opponent and played hard

Belmadi: We respected our opponent and played hard
Djamel Belmadi, coach of Algeria instructs Islam Slimani of Algeria during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Algeria and Djibouti

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 04, 2021. 09:00

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has praised his team for their performance in an 8-0 win over Djibouti in their opening 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group A match.

The reigning African champions ran riot in Blida on Thursday night, crushing the 10-man minnows (who had Mohamed Batio sent off midway through the first half) thanks to a four-goal haul from Islam Slimani, adding to strikes from Ramy Bensebaini, Baghdad Bounedjah, Riyad Mahrez and Ramiz Zerrouki.

Belmadi singled Slimani out for praise, noting that the striker “deserves all this because he gave a lot to the team”.

He added, “The match, we took it seriously, while respecting the opponent. The Djibouti coach thanked me for that. The players respected the opponent well and applied the instructions.”

The Fennec Foxes tactician, however, warned that their next match, ‘away’ to Burkina Faso in neutral Marrakesh (with the Stallions’ usual home venue in Ouagadougou deemed not up to standard) on Tuesday 7 September will be a tougher test.

“All adversaries must be respected,” explained Belmadi. “This [win] is the best way to prepare for the match against Burkina Faso, which is more difficult to play.”

He did have one complaint, which was the sub-standard pitch at Mustapha Tchaker Stadium: “I ask that everyone assumes their responsibilities and do not look for loopholes. I ask nothing more than to have a good surface to play the three or four matches of the World Cup qualifiers.”

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