Algerian goalkeeper hands Slovenia crucial victory

Algeria 0 Slovenia 1

Algeria goalkeeper Farouzi Chaouchi's error 11 minutes from time handed Slovenia a crucial victory in their Group C match at Polokwane.

Less than 24 hours after England's Robert Green had let Clint Dempsey's shot slip from his grasp in the 1-1 draw in the group's opening game, Chaouchi produced a similar howler.

Slovenia captain and former West Brom midfielder Robert Koren's 25-yard shot was not particularly venomous but the Algeria goalkeeper allowed it to bounce up off his shoulder and into the net.

Only moments before that the Africans had been reduced to 10 men when substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal's needless handball resulted in a second yellow card.

The win puts Slovenia top of the fledgling table and with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, an unlikely scenario before the tournament kicked off.

On this evidence it would seem unlikely either nation will cause Group C's "big two" any problems but, as has so often been the case in the past, England have an unwelcome habit of stumbling over hard-working and resolute teams.

And both Algeria and Slovenia reached the World Cup with play-off victories over Egypt and Russia, countries supposedly superior to them.

Portsmouth defender Nadir Belhadj presented an early threat when he forced Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to tip over a third-minute curling free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

It was a rare moment of quality in a half littered with errors as both sides needlessly gave the ball away.

Valter Birsa's inswinging free-kick from the right touchline forced Chaouchi to punch clear Slovenia's first real chance in the 21st minute.

Algeria striker Rafik Djebbour was lucky to escape punishment after appearing to deliberately catch centre-back Marko Suler in the face with his shoulder on the half-hour.

But Aleksandar Radosavljevic was booked by referee Carlos Batres for barging over Belhadj as he attempted to break down the left.

The resulting free-kick signalled a few minutes of sustained pressure which ended with centre-back Rafik Halliche heading wide Algeria's best opportunity from Karim Ziani's corner.

Just before the interval Karim Matmour's left-foot half-volley flew narrowly over the crossbar at one end while Chaouchi had to acrobatically tip over Birsa's long-range effort at the other.

Both teams changed their strikers early in the second half; Slovenia sending on Zlatan Ljubijankic for the ineffective Zlatko Dedic and Algeria replacing Djebbour with Ghezzal.

But Belhadj's delivery remained the most likely weapon to create the breakthrough as Halliche had a free-kick snatched off his forehead by Handanovic.

Rangers centre-back Madjid Bougherra produced a perfectly-timed tackle to deny Milivoje Novakovic just as he was about to shoot 12 yards out.

Algeria's chances of victory diminished considerably in the 73rd minute when Ghezzal, having been booked with seconds of coming on for pulling Suler's shirt, received a second caution for handballing a long punt forward.

Six minutes later Slovenia captain Robert Koren punished the north Africans with a little help from Chaouchi.

The watching Zinedine Zidane, born in France to Algerian parents and considered a hero in the north African country, was not impressed.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain