Today, in the 3rd round of Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, the national teams of Mauritania and Algeria will compete.
The Mauritanian National team showed a brighter and more active game in the second round of the Africa Cup of Nations, compared to their first match, despite their 2:3 defeat to Angola. The Mauritanians scored some beautiful goals: Amar skillfully outplayed four opponents and scored at the 43rd minute, and Koita hit the goal from 26 yards, scoring the best goal of the tournament according to my opinion. However, in defensive actions, the Mauritians appeared vulnerable due to the lack of skilled players and overall expertise.
In their first match in the Africa Cup of Nations, Mauritania predictably lost to Burkina Faso 0:1, conceding a penalty goal at the 96th minute. The Mauritanians had ball possession only 38% of the game time, but managed to take 11 shots on goal. The team showed their competitiveness, although they lost the game.
The Mauritania squad includes no bright starts, with many players hailing from Senegal. Prominent team members include Aboubakar Kamara from Al Jazira and Aboubakari Koita from Sint-Truiden, who turned out to be the sensation of the season in the Belgian league. Mauritania's recent matches reveal no victories in the last five games. They tied with Tunisia and South Sudan and lost to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These results highlight some of the team's difficulties but also underline their ability to compete at a high level.
Despite its status as a favourite, the Algerian National team is showing mixed results at the Africa Cup of Nations. In the previous match, the Algerians, possessing an advantage in ball control and creating more dangerous moments, couldn’t secure a victory against Burkina Faso, salvaging a draw in the last minutes of the game. Bounedjah scored both goals for Algeria, equalising the score at the 51st minute and then saving the day for the team at the 95th minute. Earlier, in their first tournament match, Algeria had a tough 1:1 draw with Angola. Despite substantial ball possession and numerous shots on goal, the Algerians couldn't build on their success after Buendia's goal.
The Algerian team boasts an impressive roster, which includes veteran forwards such as Mahrez, Feghouli, and Slimani. Bentaleb stands out in the midfield, while Atal, Mandi, and Bensebaini are notable in defence. Among naturalised players are Aouar from Roma and Ait-Nouri from Wolverhampton.
Before the Africa Cup of Nations, Algeria displayed excellent results, winning five games in a row. These victories included both friendly games and World Cup 2026 qualifiers, featuring convincing wins over Burundi and Togo. These successes underscore Algeria’s strength and confidence, but current results in the Africa Cup of Nations reveal that the team has work to do.
The rivals have played five matches against each other, all of them friendly. In their last meeting in December 2022, the teams drew 0:0. In 2021, Algeria was stronger with a score of 4:1, previously winning 6:0, 3:1, and 1:0.
Algeria desperately needs a win, there are still chances to advance from the group even on points in case of a favourable outcome, if Burkina Faso and Angola don't play a draw in a parallel match. Mauritania has a very weak defence, they allow many shots and moments, and Algeria should cope with them.