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Halilhodzic upbeat after Algeria exit

Algeria manager Vahid Halilhodzic was positive despite their Africa Cup of Nations exit after a 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

Despite taking a two-goal lead through Sofiane Feghouli and El Arbi Soudani the Ivorians scored late goals to snatch a draw from the game – although the result had no consequence for the Algerians, who were already out of quarter-final contention.

But their Bosnian boss was upbeat with the north-west Africans’ improvement throughout the tournament in South Africa.

“After two games, it’s nice to have moved forward,” Halilhodzic said.

“We have been through some very hard times throughout the preparation and training. I asked my boys to give me a victory and tonight we were not very far away from that.

“I must admit both teams played very well, although there was a bit of a disappointment after we took a two goal lead. We panicked against a more experienced team.

“But I am very satisfied, my players really performed well tonight. For the first time in 20 months we had a penalty but unfortunately we missed it. But that did not discourage us and we carried on and kept on pushing.”

Captain Mehdi Lacen believes there is a bright future for Algeria.

“Coming into this game the players and the staff knew we were very confident we could compete,” Lacen said.

“There is an important generation of players in Algeria coming in the future and perhaps that generation will lead Algeria to become one of the best, if not the best team on the continent.

“We are a bit disappointed, we would have liked to go through to the second round but now that is more important for us is what’s coming up in two months, which is against Benin (2014 World Cup qualifying), I think that’s where our focus must lie for now.”

Thu 31 Jan, 2013
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