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FIFA probes stoning of Algeria players

Algeria's Rafik Halliche, right, started the play-off despite being injured by rock-throwing Egypt fans.
Algeria's Rafik Halliche, right, started the play-off despite being injured by rock-throwing Egypt fans.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World ruling body FIFA begins investigation into incident before World Cup qualifier
  • Three of Algeria's players were injured as Egyptian fans threw stones at team bus in Cairo
  • Egypt won the match to force play-off, which Algeria won 1-0 in game held in neutral Sudan
  • The North African rivals have a history of tensions, and other meetings have caused riots
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(CNN) -- Egypt's Football Association faces punishment after FIFA decided to investigate an incident which saw Algeria's team bus pelted with stones before last Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Cairo.

The world governing body has opened disciplinary proceedings after confirming that it had received reports about incidents affecting the Algerian team on its way from the airport to the hotel two days before the game.

Three Algerian players were injured when Egyptian fans threw rocks at the team bus as it arrived in the capital on Thursday.

Egypt won that match 2-0 to force a play-off at the Khartoum Stadium in Sudan on Wednesday night, which Algeria won 1-0 to book a place at the World Cup finals in South Africa next year.

"According to the official reports received by FIFA on November 12, there were incidents affecting the Algerian team on its way from the airport to the hotel," FIFA said on its official Web site.

"Consequently, disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the Egyptian Football Association. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee will decide on the case."

FIFA delegate Walter Gagg witnessed the incident.

"We saw that three players had been injured -- Khaled Lemmouchia on the head, Rafik Halliche above the eye and Rafik Saifi on the arm. These weren't superficial injuries," he told reporters.

Halliche and Saifi both recovered to start Wednesday's match.

Gagg also confirmed that Algeria's goalkeeping coach had been concussed after the windows of the coach were smashed by stones thrown by fans.

The two north African neighbors have a history of intense competition -- rioting occurred after the two sides locked horns in 1989 in a final World Cup qualifier hosted by Italy.

Algeria, known as "the Desert Foxes," have qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986 at the expense of reigning African champions Egypt.

The tournament will be held on African soil for the first time in 2010.