Egypt and Algeria renew hostile rivalry

LUANDA - Egypt and Algeria square up in a potentially tense semi-final at the African Nations Cup in Benguela on Thursday, two months after their World Cup playoff was marred by violence.

Ghana meet neighbours Nigeria in Luanda in the other semi-final, with the new Black Stars generation continuing their bid for a first continental title since 1982.

Algeria beat Egypt 1-0 in November to deny the African champions a place at this year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

The game was played out in a highly charged atmosphere and post-match violence between opposing fans came close to creating a major diplomatic incident.

While Egypt did not disclose the numbers of fans travelling to Benguela, an Algerian official told Reuters between 1,500 and 1,800 of their supporters were expected for the game.

"For us it is a chance to show the world that we deserve to go to the World Cup and if we beat them, we will be able to watch the World Cup with pride," said Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan.

"It will be a matter of life and death in that game. For both sides it will be like a war".

Ghana will rely on players who won the Under-20 World Cup last October for the match against a Nigeria side expected to have a few changes from the team that needed 120 minutes of play and a penalty shootout to see off Zambia in the quarter-finals.