Afcon 2021: 'Be like guinea pigs' - how Equatorial Guinea beat Algeria

3 months ago 387
Action between Equatorial Guinea and AlgeriaEquatorial Guinea kept Algeria's attacking players quiet in Douala

Equatorial Guinea had to "suffer" and "be like guinea pigs" in order to pull off a shock victory over Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations, according to midfielder midfielder Federico Bikoro.

"We knew we had to sacrifice some players to be like guinea pigs and run everywhere to prevent them from playing," Bikoro said.

"Before the second half, we told ourselves in the locker room, we will suffer, we will suffer, but at some point we will get our chance, and we will need to make the most of it and score."

Equatorial Guinea had lost their opening match against Ivory Coast 1-0, while Algeria had drawn 0-0 with Sierra Leone - leaving both sides in need of points from their meeting in Douala.

Bikoro says his side prepared for the game "with a lot of tranquillity" despite being the underdogs, and the Equatoguinean defence managed to frustrate Algeria's attacking talent, although the north Africans had two efforts ruled out for offside.

Esteban Obiang then converted from a well-worked corner to snatch the only goal in the 70th minute.

"For me Algeria have always been a great team," Bikoro, who plays in the Spanish fourth tier for Hercules, said.

"It's just that they couldn't find spaces because we managed to close spaces, and that was the secret of the game.

"We are very happy because we did an incredible match, in which we were not so much focussed on the ball. We were very good defensively; we worked hard and sustained this hard work until the end of the game."

'Everyone needs to be careful'

Equatorial Guinea reached the semi-finals of the Nations Cup in 2015 as hosts but have qualified for the tournament by right for the first time this year.

The Nzalang Nacional (National Thunder) beat Tunisia in African World Cup qualifying in November and Bikoro believes their result against Algeria shows they should not be underestimated by the continent's traditional heavyweights.

"This is to show to people that now, there are no small teams anymore," the 25-year-old said.

"Any team can now bring the giants down. We can see it in La Liga, we can see it the Premier League.

Esteban Obiang celebrates after Equatorial Guinea beat AlgeriaEsteban Obiang netted the only goal to down Algeria and deliver the shock of the Nations Cup so far

"We beat the reigning champions - this is to tell you that everyone needs to be careful."

Equatorial Guinea face Sierra Leone in their final Group E game on Thursday (16:00 GMT), and a draw could be enough to take Juan Micha's side through to the last 16 as one of four best-ranked third-placed sides.

Ivory Coast top Group E on four points, with the Equatoguineans on three, the Leone Stars on two and Algeria bottom on one point, so Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone both know victory would secure a top-two finish.

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