Mongomo - Africa Cup of Nations title favourites Algeria got off to a winning
start in Group C on Monday with a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph over South
Africa in Mongomo.
As it happened: Bafana Bafana v Algeria
It was an impressive fightback by the Desert
Foxes, who went top of the table on goal difference in the group of
death after Senegal defeated Ghana 2-1 earlier.
Goals from Faouzi
Ghoulam and Islam Slimani won a lively match for the top-ranked African
team after a Thulani Hlatshwayo own-goal wiped out the lead Thuso Phala
gave South Africa.
Tokelo Rantie wasted a great chance to double
the advantage for Bafana Bafana almost immediately by firing a
penalty over off the crossbar.
Algeria started with 11 of the
squad that reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and
forced eventual champions Germany into extra time before bowing out.
Africa had to do without suspended defensive colossus Erick Mathoho
with Rivaldo Coetzee and Hlatshwayo manning the central positions.
Desert Foxes were more impressive in the early exchanges, retaining
possession and pushing forward without seriously troubling goalkeeper
But when full-back Ghoulam was presented with a
long-range free-kick opportunity, he fired the ball straight at the
South African shot-stopper.
Striker Rantie from English
second-tier league leaders Bournemouth was proving menacing at the other
end and twice threatened the Algerians with his pace.
Dean Furman came agonisingly close to ending the stalemate midway
through the opening half by unleashing an explosive shot from outside
Goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi got the slightest of touches to
the rising, swerving shot and it proved crucial as the ball cannoned
back into play off the crossbar.
Mbolhi twice rescued the Foxes as
half-time approached, dispossessing Sibusiso Vilakazi and then blocking
an Andile Jali shot with his leg.
A Rantie back-heel set up Phala to break the deadlock on 51 minutes with a close-range shot wide of Mbolhi.
Then a Rantie spot-kick flew over off the crossbar after Aissa Mandi fouled Vilakazi.
Back came Algeria and Slimani was denied by Keet and then by the post.
However, the North Africans scored twice within six minutes midway through the second half to turn the tide.
Hlatshwayo headed a cross into his own net and a fierce Ghoulam shot flew past Keet.
Algerian victory was wrapped up seven minutes from time as Keet allowed
a Slimani shot to slip under his body and into the net.