Algeria, Egypt look to advance as Saudis seek salvation

  • Saturday’s action kicks off with enticing meeting between Jordan and Morocco

  • Algeria and Egypt seeking knockout places against Lebanon and Sudan respectively

  • Palestine and Saudi Arabia hoping to make amends after opening defeats

Matchday 4 of the group phase at the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™, which features a quartet of alluring fixtures at four different venues courts, should provide plenty of drama if the tournament’s opening three days are anything to go by. Algeria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco all go in search of a second straight win that would put them in, or within touching distance of, the quarter-finals. In contrast, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Lebanon need to take something from their games to avoid an early exit.

Saturday 4 December 2021 (all times local)

Group C Jordan-Morocco (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, 13:00) Palestine-Saudi Arabia (Education City Stadium, 22:00) Group D Lebanon-Algeria (Al Janoub Stadium, 16:00) Sudan-Egypt (Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, 19:00)

Tough test Morocco face a difficult test in their second game against Jordan in Group C. Both sides won their opening fixture and will be anxious to put one foot in the quarter-finals. The Jordanians will be without Ehsan Haddad after his red card against the Saudis, while the Atlas Lions could be without Karim El Berkaoui. On the flip side, coach Houcine Ammouta can count on in-form duo, Soufiane Rahimi and Mohammed Nahiri. High-stakes derby Egypt will start as strong favourites against Sudan in this Nile derby. The latter's defeat in their first game against Algeria leaves them with no other option but to take all three points against their northern neighbours. For their part, the Pharaohs had to work hard to overcome Lebanon, only securing the win from the penalty spot, and could be without Hamdy Fathy due to injury.

No room for error at Education City After their opening defeats, Palestine and Saudi Arabia know that a second reverse when they meet on Saturday would mean a group-stage exit. The latter, who have brought a young squad to Qatar, will be hoping for a big response second time around. As for the Palestinians, despite an emphatic loss to Morocco, they showed enough to suggest they could cause problems for the Greens if they can cut out costly defensive errors. In-form attack meets robust defence Having missed the first match against Sudan due to injury, Algerian star Youcef Belaili is set to return to the starting line-up against Lebanon, according to coach Madjid Bougherra. The Fennecs know they will not have it easy against the Cedars, who put on a defensive masterclass in their opener against Egypt, limiting their formidable attack to a solitary goal, and that from the penalty spot.

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 28: Mohamed Elshenawy of Egypt poses during the Egypt team presentation prior to the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 at Radisson Blu Hotel on November 28, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The quotes

"Luck wasn’t on our side against Lebanon, and we could’ve won by a much bigger margin. The best is yet to come from this Egyptian team." Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy "Beating Palestine gave us a big morale boost before facing Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We’ll try to build on that result against Jordan, but everything here in Qatar is positive for our team." Morocco player Achraf Dari