The 2019 AFCON champions are on the brink of a shock group-stage exit after their 35-man unbeaten run ended at the weekend.
Algeria manager Djamel Belmadi admits the north Africans are in a ‘big difficult situation’ in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea not only ended Algeria’s 35-match unbeaten run since October 2018, but it also left the AFCON titleholders last in Group E with one point and just one match remaining.
If the two-time champions fail to beat Ivory Coast on Thursday, they will fail to qualify for the last-16 stage of AFCON.
That's the last time Algeria lost. It was in AFCON qualifiers away in Benin. In the intervening period, the Desert Foxes have become African champions and Arab Cup champions.
• 35 unbeaten
• 26 wins
• 9 draws
— Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) January 16, 2022
‘We are in a tough period, a really tough one’
Speaking to reporters after Equatorial Guinea’s surprise victory, Belmadi opened up on his side’s struggles to score and the challenge that now awaits them.
“We are in a difficult situation, a big difficult situation that we have not experienced for a long time,” said the manager as quoted on BBC.
“I’ll tell you we are in a tough period, a really tough one.”
Algeria had 13 shots in Sunday’s game, but only saw three of them on target. They also had two goals ruled out for offside and struggled to find a way past Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owonu.
Belmadi added: “The ball did not want to get in. We created situations, I would say almost by the dozens if I’m not mistaken, none of the chances wanted to go in.”