Algerian win took its toll on players

Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff admitted that Tuesday's 2-0 win against Senegal that took his side through to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals had taken its toll on his players.

"It was an excessively difficult game physically. The ball was almost always in the air, which is not an advantage for us," said the Frenchman.

"We needed lots of discipline tactically and our technique and speed on the break helped us win," added Gourcuff, whose side won in Malabo thanks to a goal in each half from English-based duo Riyad Mahrez and Nabil Bentaleb.

"We are two completely different teams in terms of our approach. We have lots of small technical players and Senegal are more direct and physical. But our technical quality shone through on the counter-attack in particular."

Algeria advance with six points from three games, with wins against South Africa and Senegal sandwiching a last-gasp 1-0 loss to Ghana on a poor surface in Mongomo.

"After the Ghana game we were not the worst team in the world just because we conceded right at the end. Credit to the players for going out and getting the win," added Gourcuff.

"The pitch is better than in Mongomo, that's for sure, although it was not extraordinary either and in the context it was not easy."

Algeria advance as runners-up in Group C behind Ghana and will now face the winners of Group D in the last eight in Malabo on Sunday. Anyone out of Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Mali could lie in store but Gourcuff said he had no preferences.

"It was not easy to get out of this group. We don't choose our opponents. Of course we'll follow the games with lots of interest tomorrow (Wednesday) and we'll see what happens," he added.

AFP

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