Make-or-break qualifier sees Algeria fans fill stadium... SIX HOURS before kick-off

You can’t question their commitment.

ALGERIAN FOOTBALL FANS had filled the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida, 50 kilometres south of Algiers, six hours before the kick-off of Tuesday’s World Cup playoff match between Algeria and Burkina Faso, the APS news agency said.

The match has captivated the north African country ever since the national side lost 3-2 in the first leg on Friday amid charges of biased refereeing.

Violence had already broken out last week when tickets went on sale for the match, with 50 people being injured, some of them stabbed, in the crush to get a place.

Police cordoned off some roads leading to the stadium, APS said, with around 5,000 officers called in to prevent trouble.

The buildup to the game has also been marked by thousands of fans taking to the streets in cars, waving the national flag and shouting their support for the team and blaring their car horns.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has joined in the clamour, sending a personal message of support to the players and calling on them to honour the country by winning the match.

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Algeria have three times previously qualified for the World Cup finals — in 1982, 1986 and 2010. The national side has played 19 times at the Mustapha Tchaker stadium and have never been defeated there.

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