- Alger lead 2-1 from the first leg
- They only need to avoid defeat to win their first ever Continental title
- The 60,000 tickets sold out in record time
USM Alger produced 60,000 tickets for the Capacity of the July 5 Stadium in Algiers, and they sold out on their website in record time. It is this massive noise that the Algerians will bring to the stadium, that Alger hope will spur them to their first ever Continental title.
Coach Abdelhak Benchikha hopes his side can deliver the title to the people of Algeria, coming in to the return tie with a 2-1 lead from last weekend’s victory in Dar es Salaam.
“We have prepared well tactically and mentally. The whole team is ready for the final and we are ready to do our duty. Fate is in our hands and we are the ones to decide whether to make the game easy or difficult,” the tactician said, speaking during Friday’s pre-match press conference.
He adds; “We are one step away from creating history for the club and we cannot miss this opportunity.”
He says that the greatest motivation for the players is the possibility to win the title and make history and the tactician says they know the task and expectation ahead of them. Benchikha says they will strive not to let the Algerian public down at their own backyard.
Pressure on their shoulders
He has admitted that pressure is on their shoulders, but remains confident they can handle it.
“We are playing at our fortress, a stadium that no one can escape its wrath. This is not arrogance, but strength for us,” Benchikha added.
He adds; “We will be playing infront of our home fans and they will give us the extra energy. We have the determination and great will to do well.”
Benchikha says they will not come into the match to try and defend their 2-1 lead, but target to score an early goal to settle their nerves. He is also wary of a Yanga side that is in free-scoring form whether home or away, and says his team has prepared adequately especially tactically.
Meanwhile, skipper Zineddine Belaïd has echoed his coach’s comments, saying that the players are ready to give their all and put their names in the books of history, as the first lot to get the team their first ever Continental title.
“It will be a difficult match. We beat them away from home and now we are prepared to do it again at home to win the trophy. I want to ask the supporters to stand by us and we will do our best to make them happy,” said Belaid.
He added; “It will be an honor for me to become the first captain to lift a Continental trophy in the club’s history and we are hungry for the title.”
He is wary of a tough Yanga side, despite the fact that they beat them 2-1 in the first leg in Dar es Salaam. “They have nothing to lose because this is the only chance they have. As a team we are focused on all aspects and we hope our preparation and tactics will work.”
Belaid says his call up to the Algerian national team ahead of this month’s international window, alongside three other teammates has boosted their confidence and morale and they will be out to show they deserve their place in Les Fennecs with a good performance in a Continental final.