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Football: Korea left shellshocked by Algerian onslaught in Brazil

Korea Republic’s chances of progressing to the knockout stage narrowed dramatically after a 4-2 loss to Algeria, who were 3-0 up at half-time. Photo: AFP.

Korea Republic’s chances of progressing to the knockout stage narrowed dramatically after a 4-2 loss to Algeria, who were 3-0 up at half-time against Hong Myung-bo’s men. Photo: AFP.

June 23, 2014: Korea Republic were beaten 4-2 by Algeria on Sunday in their second Group H match at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, meaning Hong Myung-bo’s side need to overcome in-form Belgium to have any chance of making the last 16. Belgium currently top the group with a maximum six points after beating Russia 1-0 in an earlier Sunday match.

 

Algeria moved up to second, with three points, following their convincing win over Korea at Porto Alegre’s Estadio Beira-Rio. The Taeguk Warriors were blown away in a first half that ended with their north African opponents 3-0 up and not even a much-improved second-half showing could prevent Korea slumping to a damaging defeat.

 

There had been plenty of raised eyebrows pre-match at the decision by Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic to bench five of the players who had been unlucky to lose 2-1 to Belgium. That shuffling of Les Fennecs pack was quickly justified, though, as they established a firm stranglehold on the match.

 

The first half was as one-sided as any seen at Brazil 2014 so far, with the tone set after just two minutes when Sofiane Feghouli twisted away from his marker and fired narrowly over from 10 yards. Algeria could easily have been 3-0 up inside the opening 10 minutes, in fact, with Yacine Brahimi – one of the players promoted to the starting line-up – volleying over and Islam Slimani heading into the side-netting shortly after.

 

Slimani continued to threaten and with 26 minutes played he scored the goal that he and his team so richly deserved, bustling through on to a long ball, holding off two Korean pursuers and dinking a volley over the advancing Jung Sung-ryoung.

 

The Taeguk Warriors seemed helpless in the face of the Algerian onslaught and two minutes later their deficit was doubled, as Rafik Halliche bulleted home Nabil Bentaleb’s corner, with Jung caught in no man’s land.

 

The scoreline did not flatter the north Africans and nor could Korea Republic complain when their opponents went three up seven minutes before half-time. The ease with which they found the net was a source of embarrassment though, with Abdelmoumene Djabou popping up unmarked 12 yards from goal to sweep home left-footed from Slimani’s clever pass.

 

Korea were a different team after the break and hauled themselves back into contention after just four minutes when Son Heung-min spun away from Madjid Bouguerra and smashed a left-foot shot through the legs of Rais Mbholi.

 

That goal made everyone wonder whether a comeback could be on,and it might have been had Mbholi not made a superb flying save to tip away Ki Sung-yeung’s sweetly struck long-range effort on the hour-mark.

 

Just a couple of minutes later, though, the Algerians moved out of sight when Brahimi worked a neat one-two with Slimani before nutmegging the hapless Jung.

 

Halilhodzic’s side duly became the first African side to score four times in a single FIFA World Cup match, although their lead was eroded with 18 minutes remaining when Lee Keun-ho crossed for Koo Ja-cheol to bundle the ball home from close range.

 

Source: FIFA World Cup (www.fifa.com/worldcup); Editing by SportAsia

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