Thursday, 6 March 2014

Football: Algeria win, Ivory Coast snatch draw

Football: Algeria win, Ivory Coast snatch draw

Last Updated: Thursday, March 06, 2014, 04:26
Football: Algeria win, Ivory Coast snatch draw
Algeria won, Ivory Coast drew and Ghana lost as African qualifiers prepared for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with warm-up games Wednesday.

Striker El-Hilal Soudani put Algeria ahead in first-half stoppage-time and Inter Milan midfielder Saphir Taider added a second goal for a 2-0 victory over Slovenia in Blida.

It was an encouraging result for the Desert Foxes, at a ground where they are almost invincible, ahead of facing Belgium, South Korea and Russia in Group H during June`s football showpiece event.

Substitutes Didier Drogba and Max Gradel scored as Ivory Coast came from two goals behind to hold Belgium 2-2 in Brussels.

Marouane Fellaini and Radja Nainggolan struck before Drogba halved the deficit on 74 minutes and Gradel snatched the stoppage-time equaliser.

The comeback will boost an `Elephants` team recently called "slow and old" by former manager Philippe Troussier.

After first round exits in 2006 and 2010, Ivory Coast got a kinder Cup draw this time, sharing Group C with Colombia, Greece and Japan.

Ghana had first-choice centre-backs John Boye and Jonathan Mensah back from lengthy injuries only to lose 1-0 away to lower-ranked Montenegro in Podgorica.

The Black Stars, who face a daunting Group G mission against Germany, Portugal and the United States, were undone by a first-minute penalty Dejan Damjanovic converted.

Later, Cameroon confront Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal in Leiria and Nigeria take on Mexico in American city Atlanta.

Non-World Cup qualifiers Egypt, Guinea, South Africa and Tunisia met teams who will be in Brazil, and there were contrasting results.

Egypt defeated debutants Bosnia Herzegovina 2-0 in Austria, Guinea upset Iran 2-1 in Tehran, Tunisia held Colombia 1-1 in Barcelona, but South Africa suffered a 5-0 thrashing by Brazil in Soweto.

It was a great start for Egypt coach Shawky Gharib after many years assisting Hassan Shehata and American Bob Bradley.

Mohamed `Gedo` Nagy put the Pharaohs ahead on 52 minutes in Innsbruck and Mohamed Salah added a second not long after.

Kevin Constant and Ibrahima Traore were the Guinean first-half scorers in Iran, who pulled one goal back during the second half.

After falling behind to a James Rodrigues penalty, Tunisia recovered under caretaker coach Nizar Khanfir and Mohamed Khazri levelled before the break.

Barcelona star Neymar scored a hat-trick as Brazil ruthlessly exposed South African defensive frailties to triumph 5-0 before a 50,000 Soccer City stadium crowd

Other friendlies featured teams preparing for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and the stand-out performance came from Zimbabwe against Malawi.

The Warriors triumphed 4-1 in Blantyre through goals from Peter Moyo, Pascal Manhanga, Ali Sadiki and Kudakwashe Mahachi.

There was late drama in Windhoek as Hamis Mcha gave Tanzania an 88th-minute lead and Panduleni Nekundi equalised deep in stoppage time. ---------------

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