Thursday, June 26, 2014

Algeria draw 1-1 with Russia in 2014 Fifa World Cup

The high tempo possession football by Algeria dealt an early heavy blow when Feghouli received treatment for the head injury and Russia pounced from the left. Kokorin jumped to jerk-knife a header to the left top corner a perfect Kombarov cross. This should now be a boring line, that there was no pressing to the crosser and the marking on the header of the ball was very bad.

Algeria tried to crack the Russian defence by going through the middle to no avail. Russia was full of energy and hard running as they pressed high up in front. The strategy was to get as many players behind the ball as possible. They kept compact by quickly closing any gaps and options before the Africans could pounce.

The Africans played a patient game for the suitability of the occasion and that made them create less opportunities. There were a few possibilities that were not fully utilised, especially aerial balls. The Russians were content to let the Algerians shoot from way out. Their midfield job was superb as they took control of that department in terms of tight marking, intercepting, getting to the ball first and picking up the second ball. They dominated the duels and completed more quality forward passes.
The continued pacey game by Russia troubled the slow and calculative Algerians. Brute force of the Europeans team could not be matched by the desperate Africans tired their level best to wrestle the match. As they probed the right and then the left, the Russians showed some cracks as they could not cope with sleek skills, conceding free-kicks.

Feghouli won one free-kick on the right and Djabou won another on the left immediately afterwards. Brahimi took a nice right-footed delivery to the far post for Slimani to head past a sprawling Frei to level the score. There was no man to mark the scorer tight and the goalkeeper came off his line for the ball but he missed it completely.

It became an open match, action swinging from end to end. Algeria were resolute and solid closing all available spaces and clonking the balls away and Russia were committed to prying open that which stood between them and the next round. They starred directly into the barrel as the Africans pulled the trigger. Algerian passed through to join Nigeria as Africa’s representative in the last sixteen.