• Saturday, August 02, 2014

Algeria qualify with 1-1 draw with Russia

Russia's forward Alexander Kokorin (C) runs with the ball against Algeria's defender Carl Medjani during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Russia's forward Alexander Kokorin (C) runs with the ball against Algeria's defender Carl Medjani during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

A second-half header has made history for Vahid Halilhodzic's side, who reach the knockout stage for the first time, reports Goal.com.

Algeria did enough to secure a place in the last 16 of the World Cup by holding Russia to a 1-1 draw.

An early header from Alexandr Kokorin gave Fabio Capello's men the initiative, but Islam Slimani struck the decisive blow in the second period as Igor Akinfeev failed to make contact with a cross into the box.

Famously eliminated at the finals in Spain 32 years ago when West Germany and Austria played out a mutually beneficial 1-0 scoreline to send the north African side out, Algeria put the record straight in Curitiba on Thursday.

Coming into the Group H clash, Algeria knew a draw would likely be enough to seal qualification - barring a heavy victory for South Korea over Belgium - whereas Russia required a win to advance.

That result looked to be on the cards when Fabio Capello's men went in front as early as the sixth minute, as Aleksandr Kokorin headed home Dmitri Kombarov's pin-point delivery.

Algerian squad members celebrate at the end of their Group H football match against Russia at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 26, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Algerian squad members celebrate at the end of their Group H football match against Russia at the Baixada Arena in Curitiba during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 26, 2014. Photo: Getty Images

Russia looked comfortable with their advantage until the hour mark, when Igor Akinfeev - who made a horrible mistake in conceding during the 1-1 draw with South Korea - failed to make a connection with Yacine Brahimi's set-piece delivery and Islam Slimani converted from six yards.

Having qualified in second place behind Belgium - who beat South Korea 1-0 - Algeria will now take on Germany in Porto Alegre on Monday in the last 16.

Both sides made one change from their previous outing, Essaid Belkalem replacing Madjid Bougherra for Algeria while Capello called up Aleksandr Kerzhakov in place of Maxim Kanunnikov.

Kokorin, whose place in the starting XI had been the subject of discussion in the build-up to the game, gave Russia a dream start when he rose to head Kombarov's perfect left-wing cross into the top corner.

Russia continued to have the better of the play and Oleg Shatov went close in the 26th minute with a swerving drive from distance that drifted narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Algeria tested Akinfeev for the first time in the 30th minute, the goalkeeper flying high to his left to tip Slimani's header over the crossbar.

Slimani tried his luck with another header two minutes before the interval, but this time his effort lacked power and was comfortably held by Akinfeev.

Aleksandr Samedov went close to doubling Russia's tally shortly after the resumption, but Rais M'Bolhi raced from his line to deny the midfielder.

That save proved crucial as, on the hour-mark, Akinfeev came to palm away Brahimi's free-kick but was beaten to the ball by Slimani, who nodded into an empty net.

Kerzhakov tested M'Bolhi 10 minutes later as Russia pressed to regain the lead, but the keeper got down well to his right to smother the well-struck shot.

Although Russia saw a lot of the ball in the final stages, they were unable to breakdown a stubborn defensive line as Algeria celebrated a landmark achievement.

Live Commentary, as it happened

FULL-TIME: ALGERIA 1-1 RUSSIA. The North Africans are through to face Germany thanks to the head of Islam Slimani! It's heartbreak for Russia, whose strong defending is once again undone by a goalkeeping blunder - only this time, it's enough to send them packing.

90' + 4' IT'S OVER! ALGERIA ARE THROUGH TO THE KNOCKOUT STAGES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR HISTORY! Incredible scenes here as the Algerian players can hardly contain their emotions!

90' + 4' Another free kick to Algeria inside the Russian half and surely this should do it!

90' + 3' Tension rising! Russia sending everyone forward. Kanunnikov wins a throw near the corner flag, but it's given away and Algeria can break. Berezutski is forced into a foul and Algeria are less than a minute away from a place in the last 16!

90' + 2' Yellow Card Cadamuro

90' + 1' Substitution Slimani islam sits for E. Soudani

90' + 1' Algeria continue to try and waste time. Russia win a throw inside their own half, and an Algerian player leaps off the bench to kick the ball into the crowd, earning himself a yellow card.

90' NEARLY THE WINNER! Kozlov gets his head to the ball, and if only for a second, it looked to be looping in at the far post, but it bounces wide and Algeria can take their time with this goal kick.

90' With all the men Russia have forward, it has to be said that they really aren't posing much of a threat at goal. Algeria are defending valiantly here, and you can just see how much this means to them. Three minutes to be added on as Russia win a corner...

88' STAT ATTACK: Algeria conceded a stoppage time goal to Landon Donovan in the final group game at the 2010 World Cup that sent the Americans through to the knockout stages.

87' Yellow Card Nabil Ghilas

86' Yellow card for the substitute Ghilas as he goes hard into the back of Kombarov. Russia win themselves a free kick to the left of the area in prime position to send in a cross, but Samedov puts it straight into the hands of M'Bolhi. With chances few and far between, they can't afford to waste opportunities like that.

84' Russia are attempting to direct all their attacks from the flanks, perhaps for a lack of options in a packed middle of the pitch. Everyone back to defend for Algeria, who proceed to boot the ball away any chance they get.

82' Oh that could have been the chance! Samedov gets the ball inside the area near the end-line, and has Kanunnikov alone at the far post, but sends his chipped cross just too far for the substitute to make contact with. Time is running out for them, and the Algeria fans can taste the knockout stages!

81' SubstitutionAleksandr Kerzhakov sits for Maxim Kanunnikov

80' Frustration continues to grow for Russia as they can't keep the pressure on. They make their final change as Maxim Kannunikov comes on to replace the ineffective Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

78' Samedov again at the centre of things for Russia in attack. The substitute Ghilas gives the ball away in his own half, and it's worked out to Samedov on the right. He cuts to the centre and picks out a wonderful through ball for Dzagoev, but he just can't control it as it runs to M'Bolhi.

77' Substitution Abdelmoumene Djabou sits for Nabil Ghilas

76' Slimani is stretchered off the pitch and play resumes. He's right back up and walking, however, as he gets to the sidelines. Russia moving bodies forward as they frantically search for a winner.

74' Time wasting has begun for Algeria. Slimani is down after a coming together with Ignashevich, and is writhing around on the ground in pain as a substitute is readied.

73' Up the pitch Algeria come. They win a free kick near the corner flag and Nabil Bentaleb urges their fans to get loud! They're so close, can they hold on?

71' Substitution Yacine Brahimi sits for Hassan Yebda

71' Algeria are set now to make their first change of the match as they look to hold on. The experienced Hassan Yebda is on in place of Yacine Brahimi, an expected defensive switch from Halilhodzic.

69' Algeria are sitting back a bit and welcoming Russia to apply the pressure. Samedov works it into the middle wonderfully, and sends a lovely little reverse pass for Kerzhakov. He has eyes for the far corner, but M'Bolhi dives to his right to collect.

67' Substitution Oleg Shatov sits for Alan Dzagoev

67' Change now from Russia and it's an important one. Alan Dzagoev, the man who transformed the game for them against Korea, is on to replace Shatov. Russia have just over 20 minutes to salvage their World Cup hopes with a goal...

66' Capello's side are on the front foot now as they win a corner. It's flicked on by Berezutski and collected calmly by M'Bolhi. Kokorin gives him a bit of a nudge, sending the keeper to ground. The striker gets down to make what looked like an apology, but something he said got under the skin of the keeper as the two get into it a bit.

64' Russia have to be careful here! Algeria expose them a bit on the counter, as Djabou finds space at the top of the area, but puts his shot straight at Akinfeev. It was a clean look at goal for the midfielder, and he would have to fancy himself to to better from there.

62' As it stands, Algeria would be through to the knockout stages with the point! But there's still plenty of football left to play, and Denisov reminds them of that as his powerful strike from distance forces a nice save from M'Bolhi.

Algeria's forward Islam Slimani (R/13#) celebrates after heading to score a goal past Russia's goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (3R) during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Algeria's forward Islam Slimani (R/13#) celebrates after heading to score a goal past Russia's goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (3R) during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

60' Goal Slimani islam

Akinfeev comes out to punch away the free kick, but can't get a hand to it. Slimani stands firm at the far post and heads home into the empty net! Incredible scenes in Curitiba!

59' Yellow Card for Aleksey Kozlov

59' Yellow Card Aleksey Kozlov

59' SLIMANI PULLS ALGERIA LEVEL!

58' Kozlov gets himself into some trouble and is forced to make a panicked tackle on Djabou, earning himself the second Russian red card in a matter of minutes. Free kick in a dangerous position for Algeria...

57' Yellow Card of Dmitriy Kombarov

56' VITAL TOUCH! Feghouli does very well along the right, working the ball into the feet of Mandi in space. He gets his cross into the area and it looks to be there for Slimani, but Ignashevich leaps up to make a crucial clearance! Much better though, from Algeria.

55' Januzaj places an incisive through ball forward for Fellaini, with his domestic teammate racing into the box and being caught by Jeoung-Ho Hong. The ball wasn't necessarily within the Belgian midfielder's control, but there was certainly clumsy contact from the defender. The referee waves away Belgium's appeals.

54' South Korea are really taking the game to Belgium, driving forward at pace and looking to break whenever possible. Son beats Vanden Borre for pace, but his cutback to Keun-Ho Lee is deflected behind for a corner. Ki is starting to run things for his side.

52' Courtois is forced to race off his line and deny Keun-Ho Lee, as the substitute breaks to the byeline. The resulting corner is turned towards the back post, with the same South Korean midfielder on hand to nod a close-range effort over the crossbar.

51' Ki tries his luck from range yet again, but Courtois merely has to stand and watch the ball arrow into the crowd. The Swansea midfielder has looked to be South Korea's main goal threat despite sitting a little deeper in midfield - Son has been extremely quiet.

50' Yellow Card Mousa for Dembele

49' A few substitutes are warming up for Belgium, as Wilmots perhaps may need to make reactive changes as the game progresses. The extra man, given South Korea's intensity and work rate, could prove to be a huge thorn in the Red Devils' side.

47' One change for South Korea, as Keun-Ho Lee replaces Kook-Young Han. Jeong-Ho Hong goes down and requires some treatment after overstretching for a clearance, though it appears that the defender will be fine to continue.

46' Substitution Kook-Young Han OUT, Keun-Ho Lee IN

46' We're back underway in the second half, with both South Korea and the crowd in Sao Paulo wanting to see some goals. As aforementioned, only a win will do for Hong's men, with Defour's dismissal perhaps being the breakthrough.

HALF-TIME: ALGERIA 0-1 RUSSIA. Kokorin's early goal has proved to be the only difference between the two sides as we reach the break. Russia are playing with a lot more confidence than they had in their first two matches, but both sides have had their chances. Algeria need a goal, and Russia need the three points, so the stage is set for an entertaining final 45 minutes!

45' + 1' KERZHAKOV! Russia nearly end the half with a bang! Fayzulin makes a superb run, as has been the theme for Capello's midfielders thus far, and slides a through ball to Kerzhakov. It's got a bit too much weight on it, but the striker slides to make contact and nearly fools the goalkeeper. That's the final kick of the half as the referee sounds his whistle.

45' Only one minute to be added on at the end of the half, with very few stoppages thus far...

44' Another chance from a set piece and Mesbah gets his head to this one, but it sails well over the bar. They haven't taken their chances yet, but Russia have to be sharper with their defending of these set pieces.

42' OH WHAT A CHANCE FOR SLIMANI! He gets away from his marker and towers high into the air, making great contact with the corner, but it's straight at Akinfeev! He really should have drawn Algeria level here.

41' Perhaps a bit unsettling for Russia here who have lulled themselves to sleep with their short passes at the back. A pass back to Akinfeev is chased by Slimani who forces the goalkeeper to put it out of play. The throw is taken quickly and Algeria win themselves a corner.

39' Yellow Card for Djamel Mesbah

41' Perhaps a bit unsettling for Russia here who have lulled themselves to sleep with their short passes at the back. A pass back to Akinfeev is chased by Slimani who forces the goalkeeper to put it out of play. The throw is taken quickly and Algeria win themselves a corner.

39' Yellow Card for Djamel Mesbah

39' Well this could be promising for Russia! Kerzhakov with some nice work as he drifts into a wide position, forces Mesbah into a tackle just outside the right of the penalty area - and the referee sees enough in the tackle to give Mesbah the first yellow card of the match.

37' Russia win themselves a free-kick here from about 35 yards out. Plenty of targets for Samedov to pick out inside the area, but he sends his cross over the heads of everyone and behind for a goal kick.

35' We've entered a bit of cagey period here as we approach the break. Algeria are careful not to be exposed at the back and find themselves 2-0 down at half-time, while Russia certainly don't want to head to the locker room at level pegging.

33' Much more promising from the North Africans. Djabou is picked out along the left by Brahimi, with Russia outnumbered at the back, but his first touch is too strong and Kozlov recovers to put it out of play. Shortly after they're back in attack through Brahimi again, but his shot proves an easy stop for Akinfeev.

31' Akinfeev's save is all for not, however, as play is called on the offside with an Algerian player blocking the view of the goalkeeper. Nonetheless, that should certainly give Akinfeev a boost of confidence!

30' INCREDIBLE FROM AKINFEEV! Algeria win themselves a corner. They have plenty of height in the side which makes them a real danger from set pieces. It's flicked on at the near post for Slimani who has a free header, but Akinfeev flies across to tip it over the bar.

28' Finally a shot on target for Algeria, and it may well even be their first attempt. They move the ball up the pitch much quicker this time and Brahimi takes a pass at the top of the area, but doesn't strike the ball cleanly as it carries easily into the arms of Akinfeev.

26' NEARLY A SECOND FOR RUSSIA! A brilliant run from Oleg Shatov and he has a go at goal from nearly 30 yards out, narrowly missing the top corner with M'Bolhi frozen to the ground!

24' Kombarov has proved a real menace for Madi thus far. The left-back is getting forward exceptionally well and providing some real teasing crosses into the area. This time he cuts into the centre and gets in a shooting position, but it takes a deflection off a defender and trickles harmlessly wide.

22' Space has been very hard to come by for the Algerians in the opening 20 minutes. They've had some positive stretches, but Russia are defending well in all areas of the pitch. They're going to have to start committing men forward or they will continue to make life easy on these Russian defenders.

20' STAT ATTACK: Sergei Ignashevich is earning his 100th international cap today for Russia.

18' Kokorin is getting himself involved in the proceedings for Russia, much more so than in the first two matches. He works a nice one-two with Kozlov to win a throw in an attacking area, then gets on the end of a cross from Samedov but glances his header wide of the far post.

16' Clever run from Glushakov! The holding midfielder shows he's more than just a imposing presence as he weaves his way into the area, past a few defenders. He gets by Belkalem, but his final touch is a bit heavy and it ricochets straight into the arms of M'Bolhi.

14' Algeria are enjoying the bulk of possession, with Russia are looking to break on a fast counter. Shatov nearly gets them going, but he's fouled by Medjani and the pace fizzles out.

12' Feghouli just can't escape the final man! Some lovely dribbling technique shown as he takes a pass and eludes three defenders before he is finally dispossessed by Ignashevich. The central defender then deals with Slimani well as a dangerous looking cross is played into the area.

10' Algeria have upped the pressure, but their fans have been taken out of it just a bit. There's still a great atmosphere here in Curitiba, but it's the Russian fans making the most noise now as their team defend the pressure with plenty of confidence.

Russia's forward Alexander Kokorin (C) runs with the ball against Algeria's defender Carl Medjani during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Russia's forward Alexander Kokorin (C) runs with the ball against Algeria's defender Carl Medjani during the Group H football match between Algeria and Russia at The Baixada Arena in Curitiba on June 26, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

8' The early goal should really help open things up now. Algeria can't just sit back and defend, they need a goal now or their World Cup will come to an end!

6' Goal Aleksandr Kokorin

Out of nothing, really, Dimitri Kombarov takes advantage of the extra space on the left in Feghouli's absence, streaking forward and sending a sensational left-footed cross into the area. Kokorin attacks it with real intent and sends an unstoppable header into the top corner. It's a dream start for Russia!

6' RUSSIA ARE IN FRONT THROUGH KOKORIN!

5' We have a brief stoppage as we approach five minutes played, as Sofiane Feghouli has picked up a knock after a clash of heads. He wants to carry on, but he's cut fairly badly and the Turkish referee sends him to the sidelines to get patched up.

3' Russia pass it around with no real threat. Algeria appear to be full of energy in midfield, chasing the ball with real menace, forcing the Russians into some negative movement early on.

1' And we're off! Algeria get us started, moving left to right, in their all white kits. Russia counter in all red. Straight off the start the North African's attempt a long ball forward but it's off the mark allowing Russia to take over.

There's a buzz in the air as the anthems are played, both sets of fans singing proudly. Plenty at stake in this match and you can almost feel the tension in the air! Should be a cracking match, and we're just minutes away from kick-off!

Published: 2:12 am Friday, June 27, 2014

Last modified: 8:25 pm Friday, June 27, 2014

TAGS: Russia Algeria world cup Brazil 2014

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