Slovenia bag first finals win
Chaouchi blunder gifts Slovenia priceless win
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 13/06/10 5:32pm
Slovenia produce some funky celebrations following Koren's strike
Slovenia have moved top of Group C in South Africa courtesy of a late 1-0 success over 10-man Algeria.
The victory, Slovenia's first-ever success in a World Cup, came following yet another goalkeeping blunder after Faouzi Chaouchi spilled Robert Koren's hopeful shot.
The game offered little in terms of entertainment before second-half substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal's moment of madness which saw him collect two quick-fire yellow cards.
With England being held by USA in Saturday's group opener Slovenia now lead the way on three points while Algeria are bottom without a point.
Little separated the teams in the opening exchanges with Nadir Belhadj's free-kick just three minutes into the contest the only early chance of note for either side.
The Portsmouth full-back struck his 20-yard effort well enough, but it was straight at keeper Samir Handanovic who made little mistake helping the ball over for a corner.
Slovenia attempted to cause problems of their own, although Koren's speculative effort from distance was comfortably blocked with 15 minutes on the clock.
Any quality shown in the early exchanges soon disappeared as both teams became guilty of surrendering possession far too easily, especially when well placed.
In the 29th minute Foued Kadir's cross was over-hit for lone striker Rafik Djebbour while at the other end Zlatko Dedic wasted an opportunity to test Faouzi Chaouchi.
Then came the first flashpoint as Aleksander Radosavljevic was rightly booked for hauling down the marauding Nadir Belhadj down Algeria's left-hand side.
The action did improve as half time approached with Rafik Halliche heading wide at the back post from an inswinging corner.
Valter Birsa twice tried his luck before the interval with one left-footed effort forcing Chaouchi to palm over while his second soon after was well wide.
Although Slovenia began the second half on the front foot the first sight of goal fell to Djebbour, but poor control allowed Matjaz Kek's side to clear.
Kek then made his first substitution with Zlatan Ljubijankic replacing Dedic with 52 minutes on the clock.
Algeria continued to look lively from set-pieces and Samir Handanovic had to be en guard to collect Belhadj's delivery with Halliche sniffing a chance at the back post.
Rabah Saadane then brought on a fresh face up front with Ghezzal replacing work horse Djebbour.
However, Saadane would not have been pleased to see Ghezzal booked within minutes of his introduction for a needless shirt-pull on Marko Suler.
Ghezzal was made to pay for his early indiscretion when his blatant handball saw Guatemalan referee Carlos Alberto Batres unsurprisingly produce a red card.
Slovenia then dodged a bullet when Suler was not awake to Samir Handanovic's short pass and Ziani very nearly gave the 10-men a shock lead.
The game's decisive moment arrived on 79 minutes when Koren's speculative shot embarrassed Chaouchi who made a hash of a simple save.
Algeria attempted to push numbers forward late on in search of a last-gasp leveller, but it was not to be as Slovenia held on for a priceless success.
FIFA World Cup Group A
FIFA World Cup Group B
FIFA World Cup Group C
FIFA World Cup Group D
FIFA World Cup Group E
FIFA World Cup Group F
|3||Bosnia and Herzegovina||3||3|
FIFA World Cup Group G
|2||United States of America||3||4|
FIFA World Cup Group H