Algeria win but Egypt maintain hope

Hatem Maher
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Algeria claimed a 3-1 home victory over Rwanda which was not enough to virtually secure their place in the World Cup as Egypt maintained their hope of booking a place at next year s South Africa finals.

Egypt assistant coach Hamada Sedki stated that Egypt had a substantial chance of reaching the World Cup. Now Egypt has a bigger motive to defeat Algeria, especially that we will host the game, Sedki told

The hosts were stunned when Mafisango Mutesa fired Rwanda in front after 20 minutes but Abdelkader Ghezzal leveled the score shortly after.

Two-second half goals from Nadir Belhadj and Karim Ziani, who converted a penalty in the dying seconds, earned Algeria all three points but the Group C race will still go down to the wire.

Algeria have 13 points, three ahead of second-placed Egypt with one match remaining. They also boast a four-goal advantage over the Pharaohs, whom they face in Cairo in their last game.

A 3-0 victory for Egypt will see them progress to the World Cup due to a better goal difference.

If Egypt beat Algeria by a two-goal margin, either a draw or a play-off game will determine the group winners because they will become equal in goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record.

Algeria need to win, draw or lose by a one-goal margin to ensure they would become one of Africa s representatives at the most important FIFA tournament.

A pulsating opening saw Algeria spurn two golden opportunities inside the first 12 minutes.

Ghezzal was picked out by a neat Ziani cross from the right but headed wide with the goal at his mercy after nine minutes while Rafik Saifi was unlucky to see his volley strike the post three minutes later.

Rwanda scored against the run of play to stun the home crowd on 20 minutes, thanks to a deflected shot by Mutesa.

Algeria continued to pile on pressure and they were finally rewarded just two minutes later when Rwanda keeper Jean-Luc Ndayishimiye s misjudgment allowed Ghezzal to head home Ziani s free-kick.

They were harshly denied a second goal few minutes before the break when Antar Yahia s close-range effort, after another blunder from Ndayishimiye, looked to have crossed the line.

However, the ball was controversially adjudged not to have crossed the line by the referee.

Algeria made amends just before the half-time whistle after Belhadj rifled a low cross into the roof of the net from seven yards out to give his side the lead.

The Desert Foxes struggled to break down Rwanda s defense in the second half but were awarded a valid penalty when Karim Matmour was felled in the area deep into stoppage time.

Ziani stepped up to convert the penalty and ensure Algeria s victory.

The ball is in our court now, and I m convinced that we can realize our dream, Sedki added.

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