Aimen Mahious of Algeria (c) celebrates goal with teammates during the 2022 CAF African Nations Championship semifinal between Algeria and Niger at the Olympic Stadium in Oran, Algeria on 31 January 2023 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Algeria coach Madjid Bougherra has saluted his players for their stellar performance following an emphatic 5-0 victory over Niger in the first semi-final of the ongoing TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Oran.

The Algerian tactician spoke with enthusiasm in the post-match press conference on Tuesday and emphasized that his players deserved the victory after many months of preparing to reach this stage in the competition.

“We thank the players. We need to acknowledge the fans as well because their support was important to us. The players respected the plan and we emerged victorious and are going to the final in Algiers,”

Said the joyful Bougherra.

The Desert Foxes had registered four 1-0 wins leading to this semi-final, however, following Tuesday’s victory, Bougherra confessed that it was timely and very much needed by his side who had faced criticism from a section of fans.

“We know that people love to see us win. We know that they are proud of the players. For a coach, the final is very easy. We are motivated enough to win the game”

Madjid Bougherra

“We are delighted to have scored five goals. When we started this tournament, we kept hearing people criticizing the team and in football, sometimes you have to take the criticism. The players have been working very hard but maybe this result will take away some of that pressure.”

Bougherra said.

The Menas of Niger had not conceded a goal in three games leading up to the game against Algeria, but Bougherra’s side were unstoppable on the night executing a very lethal offensive game plan while also maintaining a fifth straight clean sheet.

“We knew that they would lose balls. We put pressure on them to do so. I am happy that we managed to score five goals. It is a game that we managed and were in full control. Things were slow at the beginning but when we scored the first goal and had a 4-0 lead at the halftime break, we knew that we were doing the right thing,”

Bougherra explained in detail.

Bougherra has qualified Algeria to yet another final of an international competition in 13 months including the FIFA Arab Cup where he inspired the Desert Foxes to a 2-0 win over neighbours Tunisia.

“We know that people love to see us win. We know that they are proud of the players. For a coach, the final is very easy. We are motivated enough to win the game. We played very hard today. We want to win in 90 minutes.

“If we are meant to win, so be it and if not, let it be. My dream is that we win the trophy. This is the best. We need to forget about the win today and focus on the final,”

Bougherra said.

Hosts Algeria will face the winner between Senegal and Madagascar who are fighting for the second slot in the final to be played at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Baraki, Algiers on February 4.

Source: CAF Online

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