World Cup: Algeria find shooting boots and take aim at uncharted territory

Frank Dalleres
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ALGERIA took a giant stride towards a place in the World Cup last 16 for the first time with victory over South Korea in a wildly entertaining clash last night.

The north Africans, beaten by Belgium in their Group H opener, raced into a three-goal lead before half-time with goals from Islam Slimani, Rafick Halliche and Abdelmoumene Djabou.

South Korea, held by Russia in their first game, fought back after the break and reduced arrears through Son Heung-Min, but Yacine Brahimi restored Algeria’s three-goal advantage before substitute Koo Ja-Cheol set up a tense finish.

It was only Algeria’s third win at a World Cup finals and saw them become the first African nation to score four in a game in the tournament’s history. A draw in their final group fixture against Russia on Thursday could be enough to reach the last 16.

Slimani put Algeria ahead in the 26th minute when he barrelled in between two defenders to reach a long ball and calmly prodded home, and former Fulham defender Halliche doubled the lead two minutes later with a powerful header from a corner.

Midfielder Djabou slotted a third from Slimani’s pass but Hamburg forward Son’s opportunistic strike through goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi’s legs ignited a Korean comeback.

Swansea’s Ki Sung-Yeung tested M’Bolhi with a fierce strike, but Brahimi’s fine breakaway fourth settled Algeria, despite Koo’s close-range finish for South Korea.