Algeria 3–1 Rwanda: Fennecs Comeback To Win In Blida
Algeria came into the match knowing that they needed to defeat the Amavubi in Blida given that their direct rivals for World Cup qualification, Egypt, had stayed in the race a day earlier by beating Zambia 1-0 in Chililabombwe.
The encounter got underway and a goal was missed in the ninth minute when Mourad Meghni found Abdelkader Ghezzal in the box but the Siena players’ header went to the wrong side of the post. Rafik Saifi then got into the act as he saw his lunging strike fly harmlessly over the cross bar from close range.
Not even a minute later he saw another one of his attempts miss but this time it was the Rwandan goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ndayishimiye who got a hand on the ball and pushed it onto his left post. The visitors had their first chance of the match in the 17th minute but the Rwandan attackers’ header was not accurate and the rebound was gathered by Algeria.
Branko Tucak’s men then got their first corner of the match shortly after. The spell of pressure would pay dividends as Mafisango Mutesa opened the scoring with his deflected strike from just outside the box.
Despite the disappointing development for their country, the local fans in Blida chanted louder than before to show their team they were still behind them and their players responded by keeping up their pressure on their Southern Africans. Soon after, Karim Ziani crossed the ball and it was Ghezzal who got on the end of it and put the ball in the back of the net to the delight of the fans at the Mustapha Tchaker stadium.
Spurred on by their vocal supporters, the home team took control of the match thereafter but still couldn’t find the go ahead goal due to the inaccuracy of their final passes.
In the 40th minute Ghezzal took the onus of attacking as he went past two defenders and held another at bay to give himself space to unleash a cannon of the shot that flew past the right post and out of play.
Controversy followed as Anthar Yahia’s shot crossed the goal line before being cleared by a Rwandan defender but the referee wrongly called it back. Things got worse for the Algerians as another one of their goals was taken away after a mistake from the linesman who whistled an existent offside.
The Fennecs didn’t let the circumstances influence their play however as they pushed forward even more determined and Nadir Belhadj scored in first half stoppage time after a great dummy by Saifi who let the ball go through his feet to. His onrushing team-mate made no mistake with the simple finish.
Algeria continued their domination in the second half and in the 50th minute nearly added a third only for the crossbar to deny Yahia who met Meghni’s corner with a powerful header which had the Rwandan goalkeeper beaten.
Rafik Saifi could have eased the tension in the Mustapha Tchaker stadium in the 58th minute when he created space in the box but his strike was inaccurate and not on target despite his good position. Seven minutes later Ghezzal tried his luck from almost the same position but was also unsuccessful.
Rabah Saadane made his first substitution when he took out Saifi in favor of Rafik Djebbour and then followed by also taking out Meghni for newly recruited Hassan Yebda. The changes were made during a Rwandan free kick and the momentary defensive lapse nearly allowed Rwanda to equalize but Lounes Gaouaoui was equal to the attempt on goal.
The Amavubi had another chance in the 79th minute but once against the Algerian glovesman was there once more. With the game drawing to a close and just as it seemed that the Algerians would have to do with a one goal margin of victory.
A penalty was whistled in stoppage time and the “Greens” talisman Karim Ziani took charge of taking it. The Rwandan keeper got a hand on the Wolfburg players’ attempt but it was too powerful to be stopped and the game finished on a 3-1 scoreline to keep Algeria in good position to qualify for the World Cup before their Cairo showdown in November.