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Fans injured at packed stadium

20 November 2013, 08:23

Algiers - Around 40 Algerian football fans were injured as a packed house of 40 000 awaited Tuesday's World Cup playoff match with Burkina Faso at Blida's Mustapha Tchaker stadium, 50km south of Algiers, the APS news agency said, citing police reports.

The stadium was packed to capacity as early as six hours before the match was due to kickoff despite the cold and rainy conditions.

"We have counted around 40 people with light injuries among the fans," police office Nassim Bernaoui said.

The match has captivated the north African country ever since the national side lost 3-2 in the first leg in Burkian Faso 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.

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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