- Saturday, 16 June 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
The players of the Algeria football squad recovered remarkebly well from a disappointing 2014 World Cup qualifying loss away in Ouagadougou to Mali with a brilliant 4-1 victory at home over Gambia on the road to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to be hosted by South Africa.
A brace from rising striker Islam Slimani and two others from Foued Kadir and El Arbi Hillel Soudani gave Algeria a 4-1 resounding victory over Gambia at the Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida on Friday night.
Unlike the first-leg match in Banjul, the Algerian players were on top within the first minute, with midfielder Kadir’s persistence paying off as he created a chance for center-forward Slimani and then cleaned it up when the ball fell to him in the penalty box.
Just four minutes later, Slimani got on the score-sheet as well, scoring a powerful full volley after a well-executed knock-down header by second striker Soudani. Up 4-1 on aggregate, the Algerians suffered a lapse in concentration that the Gambians didn’t forgive as Saihou Gassama was given too much time and space to try his luck from distance.
The 18-year-old’s right footed blast clanged off the underside of Algerian goal-keeper Rais M’Bolhi’s crossbar and past the goal-line to reduce the deficit for the Scorpions of Gambia who still had plenty of work to do.
Algeria regained control over the midfield but struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities until the beginning of the second half. Fresh out of the dressing rooms, the Algerian Fennecs headed the instructions of team coach Vahid Halilhodžić as Soudani once again played provider for Slimani who got his second goal of the match on 48 minutes.
Sixty-five minutes into the game, striker Soudani got his own finish to add to his two assists, getting on the end of a probing Mehdi Mostefa cross at the back post.
The goal took the sting out the match as it was clear that there was no way back for the Scorpions and the Greens of Algeria held on to a 6-2 aggregate victory, sending them into the final round of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.