Thursday 27 November 2014

Algeria win first World Cup match since 1982 and dream of last 16

Published 22/06/2014 | 22:23

Algeria's Yacine Brahimi (2nd R) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal agaisnt South Korea with teammates (L- R) Algeria's Rafik Halliche, Islam Slimani, Madjid Bougherra and Nabil Bentaleb during their 2014 World Cup Group H  match at the Beira Rio stadium
Algeria's Yacine Brahimi (2nd R) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal agaisnt South Korea with teammates (L- R) Algeria's Rafik Halliche, Islam Slimani, Madjid Bougherra and Nabil Bentaleb during their 2014 World Cup Group H match at the Beira Rio stadium

Sporting Lisbon striker Islam Slimani led the way as Algeria rekindled their hopes of emerging from Group H with a thrilling 4-2 victory over South Korea.

South Korea 2 Algeria 4

Slimani set the Africans on their way to just their second World Cup finals victory with the opening goal, quickly followed by strikes from Rafik Halliche and Abdelmoumene Djabou as the Algerians, beaten narrowly by Belgium in their opening game, raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time.

Algeria's Yacine Brahimi celebrates with Islam Slimani after scoring a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match between South Korea and Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 22, 2014
Algeria's Yacine Brahimi celebrates with Islam Slimani after scoring a goal during the 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match between South Korea and Algeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 22, 2014

The Koreans rallied after the break with Son Heung-min and Koo Ja-cheol both scoring, but Yacine Brahimi's calm finish in between meant there was no late drama.

A draw in their final group game against Russia in Curitiba on Thursday could be enough to send Algeria through with Korea needing to beat group leaders Belgium to stand any chance of progressing.

Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli (2nd R) and Islam Slimani (R) celebrate the goal of their teammate Yacine Brahimi (not seen) past South Korea's Kim Young-gwon (L), Han Kook-young, Hong Jeong-ho (3rd L) and goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong during their 2014 World Cup Group H match
Algeria's Sofiane Feghouli (2nd R) and Islam Slimani (R) celebrate the goal of their teammate Yacine Brahimi (not seen) past South Korea's Kim Young-gwon (L), Han Kook-young, Hong Jeong-ho (3rd L) and goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong during their 2014 World Cup Group H match

Algeria's Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic made five changes to the team which started against the Belgians and could hardly have reaped greater reward as his side flew out of the blocks.

Sofiane Feghouli, who had scored Algeria's first World Cup finals goal for 28 years in their opening fixture, fired wide within two minutes of the kick-off and Slimani might have done better with a free header seven minutes later.

However, they did not have to wait long to take the lead when defender Carl Medjani played a 26th-minute ball over the top and Slimani squeezed between central defenders Hong Jeong-ho and Kim Young-gwon to lift the ball over advancing keeper Jung Sung-ryong.

Algeria extended their lead just two minutes later when defender Halliche beat Jung to Djabou's corner to power home a header.

There was worse to come for South Korea - who did not muster a single shot on target in the first half - seven minutes before the break when Slimani's square ball presented Djabou with the chance to sweep the ball past the helpless Jung and make it 3-0.

But Hong Myung-bo's men gave themselves hope within five minutes of the restart when Son ran on to a raking pass out of defence and turned the flat-footed Madjid Bougherra to drill a left-footed shot through keeper Rais Mbolhi's legs and into the net.

They would have been right back in the game on the hour had Mbolhi, who had earlier been grateful to defender Aissa Mandi for a goal-line clearance from Park Chu-young, not pulled off a stunning save to keep out Ki Sung-yueng's 30-yard piledriver.

However, their hopes were dashed within two minutes when Brahimi exchanged passes with Feghouli before coolly adding his name to the scoresheet.

Koo reduced the deficit once again with 18 minutes remaining when he bundled substitute Lee Keun-ho's cross past Mbolhi, but Algeria saw out time to claim the points

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