ALGERIA 1-1 RUSSIA
THURSDAY 26TH JUNE – CURITIBA
North African underdogs Algeria will face the mighty Germany in the last sixteen, after clinching a 1-1 draw against Fabio Capello’s Russia in Curitiba tonight.
With the Russians needing a win to secure their place in the knockout stages, Capello’s side made the perfect start and took the lead after just five minutes of play. Zenit midfielder Oleg Shatov crossed precisely into the area from deep on the left, which was powerfully headed into the top corner by Aleksandr Kokorin.
After such a high tempo to open the match, the game settled down into a battle in the middle of the park for the majority of the first half, with either goalkeeper being rarely bothered.
Algeria looked their most dangerous with set pieces, as they struggled to create any decent chances from open play with the Russians content to sit on their goal advantage.
Islam Slimani had both of the best chances of the half, drawing saves from Igor Akinfeev with two headed efforts. The first saw the Russian goalkeeper at full stretch to tip the ball over his crossbar, while Watford defender Essaïd Belkalem also headed over from a free-kick with the second.
Russia, like the first half, exploded out of the blocks for the second period with Aleksandr Samedov going close. Streaming down the right before playing a one-two in the box with Kokorin, Samedov ran past two defenders before seeing his effort stopped by ‘keeper Rais M’Bolhi.
On the counter attack, the Russians were looking dangerous, but an Algeria set-piece saw them draw level. Akinfeev made a hash at Yacine Brahimi’s delivery from the left, allowing Islam Slimani to head in the equaliser at the back post. If they could hold on, the draw was good enough for Algeria to proceed and held on they did.
Capello urged his side to surge forward in search of that needed winning goal that would have set up a last sixteen clash tie with Joachim Löw’s Germany, but the Russians could not find the net.
ALGERIA: Mbolhi, Belkalem, Halliche, Mesbah, Mandi, Medjani, Feghouli, Brahimi (Yebda 71), Bentaleb, Djabou (Ghilas 77), Slimani (Soudani 90).
GOALS: Slimani 60.
BOOKINGS: Mesbah 39, Ghilas 87, Cadamuro 90.
RUSSIA: Akinfeev, Kozlov, Berezutskiy, Ignashevich, Glushakov (Denisov 46), Shatov (Dzagoev 67), Samedov, Fayzulin, Kombarov, Kokorin, Kerzhakov (Kanunnikov 81).
GOALS: Kokorin 6.
BOOKINGS: Kombarov 57, Kozlov 59.
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