CAIRO: Algeria coach Rabah Saadane put his team s 2-0 loss at Egypt down to the alleged injuries of backline duo Rafik Halliche and Anthar Yahia.
It was claimed that trio Halliche, Yahia and Khaled Lemmouchia were injured after a host of Egyptian football fanatics hurled stones at their bus while they were heading to their hotel from Cairo Airport on Thursday.
Halliche and Yahia had their heads bandaged up and took part in the game, but Saadane assured that their injuries were the reason why his side slumped to a defeat.
The circumstances of the game were horrible, but we played the game. Injured players had to be fielded as you saw, he told Algerian paper Al-Hadaf.
Halliche had to be taken off. He couldn t finish the game as a result of the Egyptians aggressive challenges, and Yahia s injury was also disturbing.
Upon winning the match by a two-goal margin, Egypt set up a decisive game with Algeria, as both teams have become equal in points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record in Group C of the qualifying stage.
Speaking of the playoff match, Saadane said: We will do our best to secure a World Cup berth.
Like his boss, Algeria playmaker Karim Ziani believes that his side still have a good chance to make it to South Africa s finals.
We lost the game, but didn t lose our chances to qualify for the World Cup, he said.
The loss to Egypt has definitely taken a toll on us, even more than our fans.
The Egyptians capitalized on two defensive lapses to score twice, and that was really painful.
Amr Zaki notched an early opener, before Emad Meteb wrapped up the win with a last-gasp stunner.