Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rwanda 1 - Mali 1; Algeria 3 - Benin 1

Algeria were on the road today to take on Benin in Porto-Novo.  Benin were looking for revenge having lost in Algeria 3-1 in March.  They had the opening at the half hour mark.  A second chance cross of a corner kick found three Algerian defenders against the sole presence of Rudy Gestede in the box.  Gestede rose behind a flat-footed Mehdi Mostefa-Sbaa to head home and send the crowd into a ruckus.  Islam Slimani evened the score with a high bouncing chip over the goalkeeper from eighteen yards that bounced slowly into the goal as two defenders sprinted to try and save the ball.  But four minutes later Slimani had doubled his personal tally.  He rose from seven yards out at the back post to head a cross home powerfully, leaving no chance for any Benin intervention.  Algeria led 2-1 going into their locker room.

Benin player Badarou Nana Nafiou sent off for second yellow card in minute 67, leaving Benin to cope down a man and down a goal.   Algeria took advantage with a dozen minutes to go.  Nabil Ghilas took a through ball and carried it many yards alongside the defensive run of Didier Sossa.  Ghilas was simply too fast, and his simple slotted finish to the far corner gave Algeria their third goal of the night.  Algeria win 3-1.

Mali's capital Bamako was the site for their home match against Rwanda.  Mali were on the offensive from the opening whistle, knowing they needed to keep pace with Algeria in the group table.  Mali nearly struck first, but Rwanda defender Michel Rusheshangogamade a sliding block on the goal line to deny the home side with his goalkeeper beaten.  Behind the midfield creative abilities of Seydou Keita, Mali had at least five clear chances on goal go begging in the first thirty minutes of play.  Rwanda scored the opener well against the run of play.  A long lofted ball came to the head of Mali center back Mahamdou N'Diaye.  N'Diaye made the mistake of trying to head back to his goalkeeper, and Meddy Kagere stole the pass back and scored.  Rwanda were up 1-0 at the half.

Mali continued to be ever-present in attack.  Keita found himself on the doorstep for an unmarked header, but the cross floated just over his leaping head.  Haruna Niyonzima was sent off for his second yellow in minute 65 after his high boot struck the face of a Malian player.  Mali continued to press, sending cross after cross into the box looking to capitalize on their height advantage.  Finally, N'Diaye and his bandaged head wound headed home the equalizer with a dozen minutes left to play.  Rwanda bunkered down and prevented any more great scoring chances for Mali.  Rwanda get a 1-1 draw on the road, but nevertheless they have been eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Algeria 9 pts +7
Mali 7 pts +1
Benin 4 pts -3
Rwanda OUT

Islam Slimani 38, 42
Nabil Ghilas 78

Rudy Gestede 31

Meddy Kagere 33

Mahamadou N'Diaye 77

Match Reports:

Highlights: (Algeria v. Benin) (Rwanda v. Mali)

Full Match Video: (Algeria v. Benin) (Rwanda v. Mali)

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