World Cup 2010 - Chaouchi gifts Slovenia victory

Sun, 13 Jun 14:30:00 2010

Captain Robert Koren scored a late winner as Slovenia began their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Algeria in Polokwane.

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In keeping with the nature of a turgid encounter, the 79th minute winner came courtesy of a mistake and it was another goalkeeping howler.

The former West Bromwich Albion midfielder was given too much space on the edge of the penalty area but his shot should not have posed too many problems for Faouzi Chaouchi. However the ball bounced in front of the Entente Setif keeper and nestled in the corner.

Quality and goal attempts were in short supply at the Peter Mokaba Stadium and both England and the United States will feel confident of progressing from Group B on the basis of this display.

The match was the first at any World Cup to be played on a surface which was not 100 per cent grass and the only effort on goal in the opening 30 minutes came when Samir Handanovic tipped Nadir Belhadj's curling free-kick over the crossbar.

Algeria had a couple of half-chances later in the opening period, Rafik Halliche beat Bostjan Cesar at the back post from a corner but his header was inches wide of the post.

And Karim Matmour fired over from distance before Slovenia produced their only effort on goal in the opening period, Valter Birsa's curling effort from 25 yards which forced Chaouchi to tip over.

The second-half was just as bereft of quality. Halliche was inches away from making the decisive contact to divert a Belhadj free-kick on target while at the other end Andraz Kirm found himself in space on the left-hand side of the penalty box but curled his shot straight at Chaouchi.

Abdelkader Ghezzal entered the fray as a 58th minute substitute and was booked within moments of coming on for tugging the shirt of Marko Suler.

That proved costly as after missing a decent headed opportunity he was dismissed just 15 minutes after coming on for a deliberate handball as he attempted to bring a long ball down in the penalty area.

Despite the man advantage Slovenia were just as cautious as they had been for the entire match but after Karim Ziani had almost capitalised on a mix-up between Suler and Handanovic, they were gifted a goal by Chaouchi.

Rangers' Madjid Bougherra had a late half-chance to steer the ball back into the net after Handanovic flapped but Slovenia held on to clinch their first victory in a major competition after failing to win a match in Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup finals.

Match stats

Algeria-Slovenia

Goals 0- 1

1st Half Goals 0-0

Shots on Target 2-3

Shots off Target 7-2

Blocked Shots 1-2

Corners 4-3

Fouls 17-11

Offsides 1-3

Yellow Cards 1-2

Red Cards 1-0

Passing Success 81.3%-82.9%

Tackles 17-14

Tackles Success 64.7%-57.1%

Possession 48%-52%

Lee Walker / Eurosport

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