AFCON 2023: Algeria faces Burkina Faso in crucial showdown


Algeria faced frustration in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) debut, settling for a 1-1 draw against underdog Angola.

Eager to bounce back, the Fennecs, two-time AFCON winners and current titleholders since 2019 under manager Djamel Belmadi, now aim to secure their first victory in the tournament against Burkina Faso.

Despite being the favorites, Algeria faces a challenge against Burkina Faso, with a historical head-to-head record that includes just seven victories in 18 meetings (D5, L6) and two wins in the last seven encounters (D3, L2).

The Fennecs draw inspiration from their semifinal run in the 1984 AFCON, hosted in Ivory Coast.

Burkina Faso, leading Group D after a hard-fought victory against Mauritania settled by a 96th-minute Bertrand Traoré penalty, seeks to continue their recent AFCON success.

Having reached the final in 2013 and securing third and fourth places in 2017 and 2021, defeating Algeria would mark a significant milestone for the Stallions.

Despite Burkina Faso’s impressive record, overcoming Algeria would be a monumental achievement, especially since their last victory against a top-30 ranked team dates back to January 2022. Coach Hubert Velud’s squad boasts resilience against African opposition, with just two losses in their last 14 such encounters (W8, D4).

In the spotlight are key players Riyad Mahrez, who showcased his goal-scoring prowess in a pre-tournament warm-up win over Burundi, and Bertrand Traoré, the hero of Burkina Faso’s recent victories with goals in each of their last three competitive internationals.

Algeria’s quest for redemption hinges on breaking their recent goal-scoring struggles, having failed to score more than once in any of their last five AFCON finals games. The upcoming clash with Burkina Faso promises an intense battle as both teams aim to assert their dominance in Group D.

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