World Cup Recap - Algeria vs. Slovenia
Polokwane, South Africa (Sports Network) - Robert Koren scored with 11 minutes remaining and Slovenia topped Algeria, 1-0, on Sunday at Peter Mokaba Stadium to move to the top of Group C in the FIFA World Cup.
England and the United States opened Group C play Saturday with a 1-1 tie, and Slovenia followed with its first-ever World Cup victory to put pressure on the group favorites.
Koren, Slovenia's captain, scored the lone goal on a 20-yard shot that skimmed off the arm of Algeria goalkeeper Fawzi Chaouchi and inside the right post.
Although Chaouchi should have made the save, it was not as bad as the goal the English allowed to the U.S. when goalie Robert Green let Clint Dempsey's drive bounce off his hand and into the net in Saturday's draw.
Group C resumes Friday when Slovenia plays the U.S. and England plays Algeria in must-win games for the Americans and British.
Algeria's Nadir Belhadj had the first scoring chance of the match inside three minutes off a free kick, but his dipping shot was touched over the crossbar by Slovenia goalie Samir Handanovic.
Although Algeria had more possession over the following 35 minutes it managed just one more good look on goal in the 36th minute when Rafik Halliche headed wide of the right post from seven yards.
Valter Birsa ended the half with Slovenia's only solid chance in the 43rd, but his dipping 30-yard shot was directed over the bar by Chaouchi.
Slovenia and Algeria traded chances in the opening 25 minutes after the break, with Slovenia's Andraz Kirm shooting into Chaouchi's arms in the 60th minute and Algeria's Abdelkader Ghezzal heading just high of the top right corner in the 70th.
Ghezzal changed the match three minutes later when he played the ball down off his arm in the box to earn his second yellow card and an ejection, and Slovenia was able to take advantage in the closing stages.
Just after Slovenia avoided a disaster in the 78th minute, when Algeria's Karim Ziani stole a pass from Handanovic only for the Slovenia goalie to recover and smother the loose ball, Koren delivered the game-winner.
Bojan Jokic passed from the left sideline to Koren in the middle of the field and the Slovenia captain turned in open space and hit a shot toward the bottom-right corner.
Chaouchi was in great position to make the save, but instead of playing it safe and pushing the ball wide, he tried to control the ball and it bounced off his left arm and inside the right post.
Slovenia, which lost all three of its group games in its only other World Cup, held on over the final 10 minutes. Algeria has not won a World Cup match since 1982, when it beat West Germany and Chile in the group stage, but still failed to advance.