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Algeria undone again by poor goalkeeping
by Paul Kennedy, March 4th, 2010 2:02AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] Such was the anticipation of Algeria's World Cup warmup against Serbia in Algiers that the 70,000-seat Stade du 5 Juillet was filled three hours before gametime. Such was the crowd's disappointment in the Desert Foxes' performance that the stadium was half empty shortly after Dusko Tosic made it 3-0 for Serbia in the 65th minute.

Algeria won't be going anywhere at the World Cup if it doesn't get its goalkeeping problems sorted out. A terrible mistake by Lounes Gaouaoui gave Serbia a 1-0 lead and spoiled a solid first half by the Desert Foxes.

Ajax striker Marko Pantelic opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Gaouaoui missed a cross. Substitutes Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Tosic added goals in the second half.

Gaouaoui was absent from the Africa Cup of Nations in January. At the tournament, Algeria was shocked by Malawi, 3-0, in its opener, where goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi was to blame for two of the goals.

Algeria fell to Egypt, 4-0, in the semifinals when Chaouchi was red carded. He faces a lengthy ban for  a head butt on referee Bonaventure Coffi Codjia earlier in the game that was not sanctioned.

The Desert Foxes were also without their best defender, Rangers' Madjid Bougherra. In his place was 35-year-old Slimane Raho, who had a poor game.

Algeria's defensive frailties overshadowed some good work by its midfield against one of Europe's strongest teams.

Among those hand to appreciate the work by Hassan Yebda and Karim Matmour was French great Zinedine Zidane, who attended the game with his Algerian-born father.

  1. Rich Perry
    commented on: March 4, 2010 at 8:48 a.m.
    what does this mean? "...Chaouchi was red carded. He faces a lengthy ban for a head butt on referee Bonaventure Coffi Codjia earlier in the game that was not sanctioned." He faces a ban for an unsanctioned head butt on the ref? So he could have gotten permission for the head butt? From whom? I would infer that either the head butt happened in a game that was not sanctioned, or that the player didn't get punished for it during the game in which it happened. The latter option seems unlikely, if the player did it to the ref. Refs can seem blind at times, but I'd hope there aren't any out there that would miss getting physically attacked.

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