Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has come to the defence of his under-fire striker Baghdad Bounedjah, claiming he is ‘one of the top scorers in the world’.

The Al Sadd forward registered 39 goals in only 22 league games for his Qatari club in the 2018/19 season, but is yet to replicate his mind-boggling goalscoring performances at his club with the Desert Foxes in the competition.

The striker has only managed to score once for Algeria in the tournament, against Kenya in their opening game.

He had a chance to help his side claim victory in regular time against Ivory Coast but missed his spot-kick before the Desert Foxes edged past the Elephants in a penalty shoot-out.

On the back of the failure, he has been subjected to criticism by fans but Belmadi has insisted the forward remains one of the best in the world.

“I chose Bounedjah because he works a lot. He assisted with all our goals, he scored in qualifying,” Belmadi said in a pre-match press conference.

“He is one of the top scorers in the world. He’s an outstanding scorer, a huge worker. Penalty missed, no worries for me”

Bounedjah will hope to end his four-game goal drought when Algeria take on Nigeria in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday.

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Gbenga Adewoye