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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Algeria coach admits his side played for a draw

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane
Saadane has defended his team's tactics in the game against Angola

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane has admitted that he told his team to 'take it easy' during their draw with Angola at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mali lodged a protest with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) saying the sides purposely played out a goalless draw to ensure progress.

Mali were eliminated despite beating Malawi 3-1.

But Saadane denies the result was contrived and said both teams played by the rules of the game.

"I play by the rules, but there were 20 minutes left and Mali were leading 3-1," Sadaane told the BBC.

"We had the rules and knew that if Mali won, we would go through. So we said to our players: 'Now stop. Either score or draw - absolutely minimum.'"

"Mali can feel frustrated because they scored 7 goals, conceded 5. They had a better goal difference than us."

The draw in the final Group A game resulted in Algeria finishing level on four points with Mali, who beat Malawi 3-1 in their final match.

Algeria, though, advanced thanks to their better head-to-head record with Mali after the Desert Foxes beat the Eagles in their group game.

In their protest to Caf the Malian football federation (FMF) claimed the attitude of both sides was contrary to Fifa's ethics of fair play.


The FMF also stated that Caf had taken action in the past, for instance neither Cameroon nor Egypt were given points for a draw that occurred at the 2001 African Junior Championship.

Saadane agreed that the rules have to change

"These are Caf's rules and surely they must change," he said.

"We were lucky because the rules favoured us, but Mali are right because the rules aren't normal."

Angola defender Rui Marques also insisted there was nothing untoward.

"I don't think any team wants to take the risk of conceding a goal and maybe going out of the tournament," he told BBC Sport.

"In the first half they started much better than us that's why we were a little bit scared of conceding a goal which was a big, big risk for us.

"In the second half we were better but the football just didn't happen."

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see also
Angola 0-0 Algeria
18 Jan 10 |  African
Mali 0-1 Algeria
14 Jan 10 |  African
Mali 3-1 Malawi
18 Jan 10 |  African
Malawi 3-0 Algeria
11 Jan 10 |  African
Angola 2-0 Malawi
14 Jan 10 |  African
Angola 4-4 Mali
10 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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