Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Australian Open: British trio out.

  • Game, set and match - Ward out

    Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 Verdasco
    Posted at
    "Ward has a point to take the game and force Verdasco to serve it out but the Spaniard reels off three points in a row to avoid that pressure, and obligingly pats his strings in applause to the crowd as he waits to shake hands. The crowd shuffle off quickly in search of drama elsewhere and Ward is left to pack away his natty clothing and racquets. Britain 0-3 Rest of the World."
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 3-5 Verdasco
    Posted at
    Another break point for Ward, another service winner from Verdasco. The Spaniard is showing the class of a seeded player at the moment and the time is running out for British hopes on day two.
  • Being ill sucks - Watson

    Posted at
    Heather Watson
    British number one Heather Watson probably just wants to flake out on the sofa after her first-round exit. The 22-year-old struggled physically and called for the doctor during her 6-3 6-0 defeat by Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.
    But first she has met the media in a post-match news conference. "Yesterday I woke up not feeling that great, just kind of bloated and weak and not that good, and I feel like that today," she says.
    "I just struggled on the court to have energy. Against any player it's tough enough when you're fit, let alone when you're not. It's a real shame and it sucks."
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 2-4 Verdasco
    Posted at
    Fernando Verdasco, the number 31 seed, is edging to joining Wawrinka in the next round. British number two James Ward holds comfortably enough and then has Verdasco under pressure at 30-30, but the Spaniard again serves his way out of trouble. It's becoming a habit.
  • Glad to be back - Wawrinka

    Posted at
    Earlier (see 03:38), we told about defending champion Stan Wawrinka's safe passage into the slightly choppier waters of round two. Here's what he said afterwards:
    "It was great to be back on Rod Laver Arena again, it brings back so many memories from last year," says the Swiss, who won his first Slam at the same venue 12 months ago,
    "It was such an amazing two weeks last year so it was great to come back here and I am pleased with my game in general and I'm excited to start again.
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 1-3 Verdasco
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    Verdasco throws in a double fault but he's already 40-0 up and the Spaniard finishes the job with a forehand into the corner, which opens up the court for another into the opposite side. Textbook Verdasco.
  • Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 1-2 Verdasco*
    Posted at
    Is there any way back for Ward? Not if he continues to trade holds with the Spaniard.
  • Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) 0-1 Verdasco*
    Posted at
    Fernando Verdasco
    Oh dear. It's understandable after losing a set in which he led by a break and had a set point, but a forlorn looking Ward thumps a forehand long to give Verdasco the break at the start of the fourth.
  • Piers Newbery

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    Ward loses third set

    Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) Verdasco
    Posted at
    "As tense and as tight as a Grand Slam match can be, Ward gets another break to move 5-4 up. Two serves for the set… but he nets a poor forehand for 5-5. An epic, epic rally follows with Verdasco hammering away at the forehand and Ward scrabbling to stay alive until the court opens up and he smacks a backhand winner.
    "Set point for the Briton…. big serve from Verdasco. And then an ace! Set point for Verdasco now… and a big forehand proves too much for Ward to handle. That one got away from the British number two."
  • Ward loses third set

    Ward 6-2 0-6 6-7 (6-8) Verdasco
    Posted at
    James Ward will be crossing his fingers that this match goes to five sets, because if doesn't then he's on the next plane back to Blighty....
    Ward makes a terrific start, breaking on the first point and then making it 3-0 with a couple of heavy serves. A half-chance goes begging, however, when he frames a backhand as Verdasco cuts the deficit to 3-2 and then levels with a big forehand for 3-3.
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-6 Verdasco
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    Tension mounts on court seven as James Ward and opponent Fernando Verdasco prepare to start their third-set tie-break. The clock ticks past the 60-minute mark for this set - and we could be here for a long while yet if this goes all the way...
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 6-6 Verdasco
    Posted at
    James Ward
    The pressure is once again on James Ward. The British number two serves to force the tie-break but he comes through impressively with a hold to 15, firing a forehand down the line on game point. Fair to say this tie-break will be pretty crucial....
  • Piers Newbery

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park
    Ward* 6-2 0-6 4-4 Verdasco
    Posted at
    "Yikes. Ward drags an agricultural forehand into the tramlines to fall 0-30 behind and Verdasco sweeps into the net to angle away a backhand volley for 15-40. Ward fires long on the second break point and we're all square."
  • Best of the rest

    Posted at
    Djokovic rips the plastic wrapping off his new racquet with the excitement of a kid about to find out they've been given a new games console for Christmas.
    The Serb knocks up with his first-round opponent, who is Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene. His Aussie Open record? Played two, lost two. I don't fancy his chances of ending that unwanted 100% record against the four-time champ.
  • Best of the rest

    Posted at
    Here's one of the least surprising pieces of Australian Open news tonight. World number four Stan Wawrinka begins his men's singles title defence with a comprehensive 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over Turkey's Marsel Ilhan in the Rod Laver Arena.
    There's no way the Swiss wants to shift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup off his mantelpiece. Next up on the show court? A chap called Novak Djokovic.
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 4-3 Verdasco
    Posted at
    Ward arrows a serve down the 'T' to maintain his two-game advantage and then sets about attacking the Verdasco serve. A swinging backhand winner takes the Briton to 0-30, but Verdasco hits back with a thumping forehand down the line on his way to the game.
  • Edmund pleased with progress

    Edmund 4-6 4-6 3-6 Johnson
    Posted at
    Great Britain's Kyle Edmund has just faced the press following his straight-sets defeat by world number 38 Steve Johnson.
    "I really struggled to get on his serve today, especially towards the end of the second and the third sets," said the 20-year-old Yorkshireman.
    "There wasn't a lot of rhythm due to the fact that he was serving really well. It's just something I have to take away and work on and use as a stepping stone to get better.
    "To qualify, win three matches and play my first round is a good experience. Looking back on it, it's still been a good week."
  • Ward* 6-2 0-6 3-2 Verdasco
    Posted at
    Spain's Verdasco mops his relieved brow as he wriggles out of another tight spot in the fifth. Ward pins him back, probing for a chink in his armour, with the possibility of a second break looming large over the Spaniard. However, he survives and keeps Ward within one.
  • Ward 6-2 0-6 3-1 Verdasco*
    Posted at
    Verdasco's serve cannot be broken in the third game, then he he has an opportunity to break back. But the Spaniard blows his chance, as Ward scampers back to maintain his two-game lead.

Heather Watson out in round one

Heather Watson
British number one Heather Watson lost in the first round of the Australian Open after feeling light-headed and requiring treatment from the doctor.
Watson, whose ranking plummeted after a bout of glandular fever in 2013, lost 6-4 6-0 to Tsvetana Pironkova.
The 22-year-old was confident it was not a return of glandular fever but said she often struggled for energy.
"I felt very light-headed and low on energy - it's a shame that it's today," Watson told BBC Sport.
"I get it sometimes. I'm going to go and see the doctor afterwards and see if there's anything I can do to help with times like these in the future.
"I think it's just one of these things that I have, girl things. It just happens."
Watson called for the doctor towards the end of the first set and was visibly struggling as Bulgaria's Pironkova, ranked 52nd in the world and a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2010, won the last seven games.
It was in Australia two years ago that Watson first felt the signs of what proved to be glandular fever, and she was given a reminder of that moment on Tuesday.
Heather Watson
Heather Watson dropped to 162 in the world rankings after a bout of glandular fever in 2013
"It was actually the same doctor that came on court when I called the trainer for no energy two years ago," said the Briton.
"When he came on in 2013 it was the same thing. I couldn't really do much, not knowing at the time what it was.
"He said: 'We'll just do the same, give you some gels and you've just got to fight through it.'
"That's what I tried to do. I tried to play more aggressive so we wouldn't have too many long rallies, but I wasn't consistent enough."
She added: "I get this at different times. I have a day or two here and there where I feel like this.
"I'm going to see the doctor afterwards because I can't let this affect me any more. I've lost this week now."
Watson had been brimming with positivity on arriving in Melbourne fresh from winning her second WTA title in Hobart last week.
With a career-high ranking of 38, she had designs on improving her Grand Slam record, having never been past the third round.
"It's really frustrating, especially at the one time I really do want all my energy and to be 100%," said Watson.
"But it happens and you're dealt with different cards on different days and I should have dealt with it better. It's a real shame and it sucks."

Watson, Ward and Edmund all out

Kyle Edmund, Heaher Watson and James Ward
  • Ward loses to Verdasco in four sets
  • British number two misses set point to lead 2-1
  • Watson unwell in defeat by Pironkova
  • Edmund beaten in straight sets by Johnson
Britain's players suffered a disappointing day two at the Australian Open as Heather Watson, James Ward and Kyle Edmund all lost.
Ward, the British number two, came closest to victory but went down 2-6 6-0 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 to Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
British number one Watson struggled with illness in a 6-4 6-0 loss to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.
Also in round one, Edmund lost 6-4 6-4 6-3 to American Steve Johnson.
Andy Murray is the sole British representative left in round two of the singles draws after beating India's Yuki Bhambri in straight sets on Monday.
Ward, 27, had his chances on a blustery court seven when he led by a break in the third set and then had a set point in the tie-break.

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller:

"To be feeling light-headed and low on energy will be a real worry to Watson, who worked so hard last year to make up for the time lost to glandular fever.
"But if she can remain healthy - and she was able to put herself through seven hard weeks of pre-season training - then she remains a player with the ability to make it into the second week of a Grand Slam.
"James Ward is playing the best tennis of his life: the more ATP events he can play in, the greater his chances will be of turning competitive defeats into victories over top-50 players.
"And Kyle Edmund did very well to win three rounds of qualifying on his debut, but isn't yet ready to land any serious blows on a top-40 player like Steve Johnson."
After two similarly one-sided opening sets it was the closing stages of the third that proved decisive as Verdasco, the 31st seed and a former semi-finalist in Melbourne, recovered the break and served his way out of danger in the tie-break.
A dispirited Ward thumped a forehand long to drop serve at the start of the fourth and although he fought hard to recover, the Londoner could not convert the one break-back point that came his way.
"It's come down to one or two points," said Ward. "It was tough but I thought I played well.
"Of course if I'd held two more times in the third I've won the set but it was tough conditions out there, very windy. We both played well. Even in the tie-break I gave myself a chance."
Ward will now head back to London where he will attend the funeral of his grandmother, who passed away recently.
"I don't want to make excuses but it's difficult. We're a very close family and it was a bit of a shock," he added.
Ward became the third British player to fall in a matter of hours after Watson had succumbed to Pironkova , and a recurring ailment that saps her energy.
The British number one required treatment from the doctor in the first set on court 10 and lost the last seven games.
Heather Watson
Heather Watson dropped to 162 in the world rankings after a bout of glandular fever in 2013
"It's really frustrating," said the 22-year-old, who still plans to play doubles in Melbourne.
"I woke up this morning in sweats. I don't always feel good every day but not this bad. It usually lasts literally one or two days."
Over on court 22, Edmund faced a man ranked 154 places higher at 38 in the world, and the gap in class and experience told.
Edmund, 20, had broken new ground by coming through three rounds to qualify for a Slam but made little impact on Johnson's impressive serve.
One break was enough for the 25-year-old American in each of the first two sets and two more followed as he clinically saw out the third.
"There wasn't a lot of rhythm due to the fact that he was serving really well," said Yorkshireman Edmund.
"It's just something I have to take away, work on and use as a stepping stone to get better.
"To qualify, win three matches and play my first round is a good experience. Looking back on it, it's still been a good week."
Kyle Edmund
Kyle Edmund was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time

Novak Djokovic 'ready' despite illness

Novak Djokovic

Australian Open 2015

Dates: 19 January-1 February Venue: Melbourne Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, selected live text commentaries and daily reports on the BBC Sport website
Novak Djokovic insisted he felt ready to begin his bid for a fifth Australian Open title despite feeling unwell on the eve of the tournament.
The world number one did not arrive at Melbourne Park to practise until Sunday after suffering a "little bit with the flu and stomach".
He added: "I had a tough couple days but it's all behind me now. I'm ready."
Djokovic, 27, has another day of rest before facing Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in round one on Tueday.
Bedene, who came through qualifying, is based in the UK and in the process of applying for a British passport, which he hopes could open the door to the Davis Cup team.
Djokovic was courted by the LTA in his younger days, and the Serb said: "I wish him all the best. If he thinks it's the proper way for him to continue his tennis career, I support him."
Third seed Rafael Nadal has played down his chances of winning a second Australian Open title as he makes his way back from injury.
The Spaniard, 28, has played just eight matches since Wimbledon following a wrist injury and appendicitis.
"I don't consider myself one of the favourites here," said Nadal, runner-up in Melbourne 12 months ago.
"Last year, yes. This year is a different story. I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win."
Rafael Nadal gets treatment at last year's Australian Open
Nadal suffered back problems during last year's tournament
Nadal lost his only tour match of the season so far against Germany's Michael Berrer at the Qatar Open on 6 January, and faces a tricky first-round contest in Melbourne against experienced Russian Mikhail Youzhny on Monday.
The 2009 champion almost added a second Australian title last year, only to succumb to a back injury during the final against Stan Wawrinka which he lost 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.
"I cannot say it is completely recovered because that can happen when you compete, when you put your back under stress," Nadal said.
"It can come back, no? It Is something that I'm not 100% confident in yet.
"If you talk about my knees, I say, 'OK, it can happen, but I am confident about my knees because they are working very well'.
"But my back, I don't have enough time having good feelings to say I am 100% perfect. I need to take care about this for the moment. But hopefully it will be fine."
Nadal beat Roger Federer in straight sets in last year's semi-finals, but the 33-year-old Swiss arrives in optimistic mood this year after a fine 2014 that lacked only an 18th major title.
"Clearly things are more calm this year, coming in," said the four-time champion, who secured the 1,000th victory of his career last week when he won the Brisbane International title.

Williams vs Van Uytvanck.

  • Snoop Dogg would be pleased.
    Serena has served out the first game in double-quick time and is now applying some early pressure on Alison van Uytvanck's own tee-off.
    Earlier today, there was a bit of all-British blow-out with national women's number one Heather Watson struggling with illness in defeat to Tsvetana Pironkova and James Ward and Kyle Edmund losing their own openers.
    Kyle Edmund, Heather Watson and James Ward
  • Posted at
    Snoop Dogg
    Snoop Dogg, now Snoop Lion, once rapped about seeing Serena Williams in "the Wimbledon Arena".
    Well, the All England Club lacks any arenas.
    Fortunately the Australian Open has the Margaret Court Arena and that is where the five-time champion is currently knocking up ahead of her first-round meeting with Belgian Alison van Uytvanck.

Ronaldo named best Portuguese player of all time

Ronaldo named best Portuguese player of all time
 Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), ahead of Eusebio and Luis Figo.

The 29-year-old was awarded the prestigious title at a ceremony in Estoril as part of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the FPF.

Ronaldo is one of only three Portuguese players to have been capped more than 100 times - Figo and Fernando Couto being the other two - and is his country's all-time top goalscorer.

The former Manchester United man has represented the Seleccao at six major tournaments (Euro 2004, 2008 and 2012 as well as World Cup 2006, 2010 and 2014), scoring at least once at each showpiece.

Fifa president Joseph Blatter and Uefa chief Michel Platini were among the people in attendance to see Ronaldo announced as the winner of the award, but the prolific attacker himself did not attend the ceremony due to Real Madrid's Copa del Rey clash with Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was named the best Portuguese coach of all time at the ceremony following his successes with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid.

The FPF also announced an all-time best Portugal XI, with Ronaldo as the standout-performer alongside Eusebio.

All-time best Portugal XI: Vitor Baia, Fernando Couto, Germano, Humberto Coelho, Ricardo Carvalho, Coluna, Figo, Rui Costa, Ronaldo, Eusebio, Futre.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or win is absurd, says Cruyff

Cristiano Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or win is absurd, says Cruyff
Johan Cruyff says it's "absurd" that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo won the Fifa Ballon d'Or following his disappointing performances for Portugal at the World Cup.

Cruyff - who landed the prize in 1971, 1973 and 1974 feels the trophy should have gone to someone who did not only excel individually, but also enjoyed a successful World Cup, adding that Toni Kroos would have been a worthy winner.

"At the highest level, it's all about the combination of individual quality and achievements," the Netherlands legend wrote in his column for De Telegraaf.

"From that point of view, it's absurd that for the second year in a row a player has been given the award who did not both play excellent and win the most trophies.

"Back in 2013, Bayern Munich won every single trophy out there, yet Cristiano Ronaldo still won the award instead of a player like Toni Kroos or someone else from Bayern.

"In 2014, Kroos was a key player again for the team that won the World Cup, yet he was not even among the final three nominees. Ronaldo was completely anonymous at the World Cup...

"Let this be clear, I cannot take this Fifa award seriously anymore."

Ronaldo, 29, finished ahead of Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer in the vote to win the third Ballon d'Or of his career.

Henry hails Arsenal commitment

Santi Cazorla: Key to Arsenal success, says Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry was full of praise for the "commitment, desire and togetherness" of Arsenal in their 2-0 win at Manchester City on Sunday.
Santi Cazorla scored from the spot in the first half before setting up Olivier Giroud for the Gunners’ second as they became the first team to beat City at the Etihad by two or more goals since 2010.
The display coincided with Henry’s debut in the Sky Sports punditry box, and the former Premier League striker couldn’t hide his satisfaction at the improve performance form his former side.
“What I’m happy about is that they played well as a unit,” Henry said on Super Sunday.
“It wasn’t so much about the ball, it wasn’t so much about skills. But you can also play well in the way they played. They were playing as a team. There wasn’t anything for Man City today and you sensed that right from the start.
“People want to see commitment, desire and togetherness, and today all three was there. As long as you show that to the fans, they are happy. Before, they were allowing teams to run all over them, that wasn’t the case today.”
Inspirational midfielder Cazorla produced a starring role as his side claimed their first away win against one of last season’s top for the first time since Robin van Persie’s hat-trick sealed a 5-3 win at Chelsea in October 2011.
And the Arsenal legend was full of praise for Cazorla, who he believes is the catalyst in Arsenal’s resurgence.
“He controlled that midfield, to come and play the way he did here at the Etihad Stadium was outstanding,” Henry added.
“What a player. I said before the game that people were focusing on Sanchez, at the moment Cazorla is the guy that makes the team tick. Sanchez didn’t have a great game today but they won 2-0.
“When was the last time you saw a Man City team not have a single chance to score? I know they had a couple of shots but they weren’t great opportunities.
“He’s always smiling. I also like the fact he was trying to calm people down when Arsenal were under pressure.
“It’s very important for him to be in the middle. It’s a different story when you have to play out wide. I don’t think he has the body or the leg work to be out there.
"Once you’re in the middle and you’re not far from everybody in terms of pressure, he can do that all day.”

Zidane on Pogba: The best always join Madrid

Zidane on Pogba: The best always join Madrid
 Zinedine Zidane says "the best players always join Real Madrid in the end" after being quizzed over the club's reported interest in Juventus star Paul Pogba.

Juve director general Giuseppe Marotta admitted on Monday that the club could struggle to hold on to the 21-year-old because of the wages on offer at Europe's wealthiest clubs.

He also revealed that Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti's had already approached him regarding the France midfielder and said the Italian was telling 'white lies' after denying any interest in the player.

Zidane, who is now in charge of the club's Castilla side, himself insists he has made no attempt to convince his compatriot to move to Spain, but wouldn't be surprised to see a transfer unfold.

He told AS: "I have not tried to convince Pogba to join Real Madrid because I don't know him on a personal level.

"But the best players always go to Madrid in the end."

If he was to join the club, Pogba would find competition in the form of Isco, who has emerged as one of Madrid's best performers this season.

Zidane has watched the Spain international at close quarters and paid him the ultimate compliment by comparing the 22-year-old to himself during his playing days.

"Isco is a bit like me on a technical level," Zidane was quoted as saying by AS. "The fans are loving him and he is going through a special moment.

"He is a first-team regular at the moment and he has proven to be a great buy."

Tony Pulis urges Ideye to stay positive

Tony Pulis urges Ideye to stay positive
Nigeria and West Bromwich Albion striker Brown Ideye has been counseled to stay positive as he continues his quest towards ending his goal drought.
The Throstles striker has just one Premier League goal to his name this season, having netted a consolation in last month's game against Manchester City since his £10m move from Dynamo Kiev but the Albion boss  feels the Nigerian  is more than capable of hitting form, sooner rather than later.
"He needs a goal, more than anything else. The boy can't buy a goal at the moment and that's what he needs, Pulis told club website.
"You have a look at what he did (versus Hull City), the effort and commitment he put in. He worked very hard, especially in the first half hour, he linked play very well and we're just disappointed he didn't score.

"Had he done that we would have seen a different player. Confidence is such a big thing for strikers, he continued.
"I've spoken to him a bit. I went back to Jason Puncheon missing a penalty (for Crystal Palace) last year at Tottenham...I said 'Punch' get on with it - there are worse things going on in the world.
"People get on with it and carry on. English football is different to other football on the continent. It can take a lot for players to get used to the way football is here.
"You have to give them time and assurance. That doesn't apply to just Brown but all top players,” he concluded.
Ideye is expected to get a starter’s shirt when West Brom visit Everton in Monday night’s English Premier League showdown.

Arsenal adapt to claim point at city

Santi Cazorla: Brings down Sergio Aguero
After Arsenal earned a rare away win at a top-four rival, Pete Smith assesses the fresh approach they adopted to get the points at Manchester City.
“I didn’t think Arsenal were capable of playing like that.”
Graeme Souness wasn’t the only one surprised to see Arsenal surrender 65 per cent of possession to their opponents, sit deep to defend their lead and battle for a rare win at one of the Premier League’s elite.
In fact, Arsenal’s 2-0 triumph at Man City was just the third time in the past six seasons Arsenal have won away at an opponent who finished in the top four in the previous campaign.
Their last, a 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge, was achieved in stark contrast to their display at the Etihad. That October 2011 success was an end-to-end rollercoaster. Sunday’s win in Manchester was a calculated, clinical performance.
“This has been a masterclass from Arsenal, in terms of closing off those central areas and pockets City like to operate in,” said Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.
City had to wait until the 36th minute before having a shot at David Ospina’s goal – the longest it has taken them in a game to unleash since October 2012 – which was testament to Arsenal’s closing down and pressing.
“I always say Arsenal are too easy to play against,” said Souness. “Today it was the opposite. I’ve been feeling this for five years but today the word that jumps out is discipline.
"They defended brilliantly, they never allowed spaces to develop between the midfield and two central defenders. If they could just bottle that they’d be a threat in any competition they played. They’ve gone from a team that gets rolled over consistently easily, to a team that could play like that anywhere and get a result.”
So, what sparked the change? Well, given Aaron Ramsey’s post-match comments, it seems last season’s 6-3 defeat at City was in the minds of the Arsenal players ahead of kick-off.
“The team felt we’ve come here a few times and been a bit too open - and we wanted to put things right,” said the midfielder.
“We definitely defended as a team, didn’t give them any room in the middle for them to get in the little pockets that David Silva likes to get in to, and forced them wide all the time.”
The result means Arsenal end the weekend where they started it, in fifth place in the Premier League, still 13 points behind table-topping Chelsea. But it feels as though they’ve taken a giant step forwards.
“We finally got a big win in a big game away from home,” a satisfied Wenger told Sky Sports afterwards. “We weren’t far away at Liverpool (in the 2-2 draw) but today we did it and that’s very pleasing.
“We have five important months in front of us and to feel you can do well is very important to a group of players.”
Arsenal don’t meet one of last season’s top four again until April, when Liverpool visit the Emirates. By then, Wenger will hope his side, who are still in the FA Cup and Champions League, still have plenty to play for on all fronts, so they can put their new-found discipline to good use.

Kompany escapes lightly

Vincent Kompany: Poor for Manchester City against Arsenal
Mark Holmes asks whether Vincent Kompany has got off easily, suggests Arsene Wenger got lucky, and dismisses some Cristiano Ronaldo jealousy.
Kompany performance goes unnoticed?
Football, as they say, is a game of opinions.
Neil Ashton, for example, has spent much of his time since the end of Sunday's game at the Etihad Stadium defending his decision to rate the game's outstanding performer, Santi Cazorla, 7/10.
Barney Ronay, meanwhile, as part of the Guardian's weekly '10 talking points' column, chose to focus on Manchester City's failure to score at home for the first time in August.
The need for another striker, namely Wilfried Bony, is clear, Ronay attests, arguing that Manuel Pellegrini's side have relied too heavily on Sergio Aguero, despite them racking up a 12-game unbeaten run in his absence.
He does have a point, in fairness, that Bony can provide a different dimension to City's attack, but it is strange that anyone would come away from Sunday's game without asking serious questions of the hosts' defence, in particular Vincent Kompany.
Opinions were split on whether his block on Nacho Monreal warranted a penalty - there was some brilliant juxtaposition in the Daily Mail with Graham Poll's 'Dean was spot on for penalty award' column appearing next to Ashton in which he accused Monreal of simulation - but even Pellegrini accepted afterwards he had made a mistake in moving his body towards Monreal rather than attempting to jockey him away from the goal.
A lack of match sharpness was offered as a fair excuse for Kompany's performance on his return from injury, but mistakes have been creeping into his game for a while now.
Even Arsenal's second goal, easily headed home by Olivier Giroud after he was left by Fernando, threw up questions about Kompany's organisation and leadership.
Even if you do not agree with that, it is hard to dispute it was an extremely poor goal to concede from City's point of view.
It is an irrelevant statistic, particularly when taking David De Gea's form into consideration, but City have now conceded more Premier League goals than Manchester United this season.
It would be wrong to overreact, of course, certainly on the back of such an outstanding run of performances for City through December, but with Eliaquim Mangala still some way off justifying his transfer fee, any criticism of the Blues must surely be aimed at their backline rather than the forwards that were simply kept out by a brilliant Arsenal display.
Wenger gets lucky with Coquelin

While Ronay could be accused of missing the major talking point of City's defeat, his assertion that Arsene Wenger may have got lucky with Francis Coquelin is hard to disagree with.
Journalists have been falling over themselves to praise Wenger's tactics at the Etihad, but Ronay is spot on that Coquelin, who was a key performer in a holding midfield role, 'would most likely not have played' had Wenger had a full-choice squad to choose from.
Indeed, rather than praise Wenger for his use of the Frenchman, or his tactics in general, the frustration for Arsenal fans must be that the manager has not understood the benefits of using a genuine defensive midfield player.
Even after Sunday it is hard to shake the feeling Coquelin might find himself out of the team if Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere are both available the next time Arsenal play such an important game.
Furthermore, as Ronay points out, 'it would be wrong to suggest Coquelin is the missing piece in the jigsaw for Arsenal.'
He is exactly what they need in that he is a defensive midfielder, but a player that struggled to make a big impact at Charlton has not suddenly become good enough, despite a couple of performances to suggest otherwise, to start regularly for a side with ambitions of winning trophies. He is a stop-gap, albeit a square peg in a square hole for once.
Wenger deserves praise for his approach at the Etihad, but the challenge for the Frenchman now is to prove it was not simply a fluke.
Poorly-timed columns of the week
Only a handful of people know what the relationship between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo is like at Real Madrid, and it is not too much of a stretch to suggest the Sunday People's Neil Moxley is not among them.
It has not stopped him, however, like many others, from making waves about Ronaldo's angry reaction at not receiving a pass from his Welsh team-mate during Real's win over Espanyol last weekend.
Carlo Ancelotti defended Bale's decision to shoot rather than pass after the game, reasonably attributing it to the natural instinct of a forward, adding that relations between him and Ronaldo are "very good".
Ronaldo himself then did his best to calm the frenzy on the evening he won a third Ballon d'Or trophy.
"Madrid fans are always the same, they are very intense, they show what they feel, they aren't liars," he said.
"But I think the things with 'Gaz' are normal because they know that Gaz is a very important player for us, a key player.
"What happened on Saturday is in the past, sometimes I make mistakes too so it's part of the business, part of football. I think the people will be nice with him and they should be nice with him."
Bizarrely, though, Moxley managed to put a negative spin on Ronaldo's comments, quoting only 'I think things with Gaz are normal', and going on to suggest the Portuguese should have urged Real fans to support Bale.
That is exactly what he did, of course, but the description of Ronaldo as 'the perfectly toned, perfectly presented plasticine man' suggests a man that was not about to let the facts get in the way of a good rant.
Unfortunately for Moxley, both Bale and Ronaldo scored in Real's 3-0 win at Getafe on Sunday, with the pair's obvious dislike of each other brilliantly caught on camera.

While Moxley may have been left to rue his column within a few hours of it hitting the breakfast tables, it may have seemed pertinent to some for a few hours at least.
Terry Gibson's column in the Daily Star Sunday, however, was out of date before it had even gone to print.
'To me, Radamel Falcao is the king of strikers,' it began, on somewhat controversial ground given the Colombian's form for Manchester United this season.
By the time Gibson had labelled it a 'crime' that Louis van Gaal was not playing Falcao more, the day after he had played for the full 90 minutes at QPR, you couldn't help but feel this was a column that should never have seen the light of day.
And that was before Gibson had even said that Falcao was 'on a par with Sergio Aguero'.
Falcao arrived at Old Trafford with a phenomenal goalscoring record and may well yet prove himself in the Premier League if he can get back to full fitness. In fact, despite drawing a blank in front of goal, his performance at Loftus Road on Saturday was promising.
Still, coming off the back of what some are describing - perhaps harshly given the slight touch of the ball Steven Caulker got on the way through - as a contender for miss of the season, Gibson's glowing recommendation could not have been more hilariously timed.
The perils of ghostwriting!

If you can't link with Messi, you're in the wrong game, says Xavi

Xavi: If you can't link with Messi, you're in the wrong game
Barcelona veteran Xavi says a footballer has no right to be in the game if he cannot find a way to link up with the brilliance of Lionel Messi.

Messi put some of the speculation over his future firmly behind him with a virtuoso performance for the Catalans against Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend, as he scored a sublime hat-trick in a 4-0 victory.

Xavi's midfield team-mate Ivan Rakitic linked up superbly with Messi during the clash at the Riazor and, when asked about his own experience of playing alongside the Argentine, he claims it is easy to do so.

"If you can't link up well with Messi, football's not for you," he was quoted as saying by Marca.

Xavi went on to describe the late Luis Aragones as one of the most important figures in his distinguished career, with Spain's tiki-taka style at Euro 2008 borne out of the former Roja coach's ideals.

"I've learned from all of them [coaches], but it's true that Luis Aragones left a huge mark on me personally," Xavi added.

Neville urges United to take more risks

Marouane Fellaini: Scored the opener, but only after the switch from 3-5-2
Gary Neville believes Man United need to take far more risks in possession, and that Louis van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation may be holding them back.
Louis van Gaal's side lined up in a 3-5-2 formation at Loftus Road on Saturday but struggled to break down QPR.
With United supporters singing "4-4-2" and "attack, attack, attack", Van Gaal switched formation just before the hour mark and was rewarded with goals from Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson.
However, while the change in formation led to United's breakthrough, Sky Sports pundit Neville believes the players must change their mentality and, rather than worry about not losing the ball, think about how they can go forward with it.
"It's more impatience than unhappiness [from the United fans]," he said on Monday Night Football.
"They haven't been taking risks in the 3-5-2 system and in the first 57 minutes at QPR there were no goals, only five shots, four on target and 68% possession.
"Then, when they go to the back four, there's less possession but goals, more shots and generally a far better performance from them in the last half hour.
"It's partly the system but it's a mentality thing as well. I'm not a fan of 3-5-2, when you play that, you end up with your centre backs being the free men and that becomes a careful option, then it kicks into your mentality: 'I've always got a safer pass'."
Neville also had an issue with the speed of United's play, pointing out Van Gaal's defenders were spending too long with the ball before getting it forward into the QPR half.
"They play the ball out from the back - as most good teams would - but the tempo is too slow. They play too many passes. Those back three players are on the ball far too much," he said.
"In the first half on Saturday, Manchester United centre-backs had 114 passes of the ball. You look at the other teams that played away from home this weekend, Southampton (57), Chelsea (37), Arsenal (26) and it's a miraculous difference.
"When they go to the back four in the second half it goes to 54 passes. It's a big difference. They started looking at diagonal passes, playing risky ones, making QPR work and doing things that are unpredictable."
Jamie Carragher reckons Van Gaal's decision to switch formation wasn't swayed by the United fans at Loftus Road - but feels the Dutchman must look closely at the stats and consider a long-term change away from the 3-5-2 system.
"The fans singing "4-4-2" and "attack, attack, attack" won't change Louis van Gaal, given the manager he is. But those stats should change him and that's the reason why he should go back [to 4-4-2]," said Carragher.
"Systems give you different things but that shows they are more successful playing like that. He's a possession-based manager but it has to be fast, with penetration. The top teams keep possession - but it has to be quicker."

Rodgers: I still respect Jose

Brendan Rodgers: Focus on matches - not managers
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists he is not driven by a personal desire to beat opposing managers - only to win football matches.
Rodgers comes up against Jose Mourinho, the man who gave him a youth team job in his first spell at Stamford Bridge, in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday.
The Liverpool boss has come off second best in his last three matches against his old colleague, but Rodgers believes that was only half the story.
He said: "As a manager the big part of it is the players you have, that is the reality. Of course you can make an impact and make them better but if you come into a group of super-experienced players who have won consistently, you are going to have a better chance to win trophies - it's not rocket science.
"I have never really seen it as a direct match-up against the other manager because there are so many things that can dictate that. For me it is just about winning the game, regardless of the manager."
Rodgers admits he does not have as close a relationship with Mourinho as he once did - but insists his respect for the Portuguese is undimmed.
"There's probably not as much contact but the respect hasn't left," he said. "The opportunity to work with him during that period of three-and-a-half years was invaluable for me but in some way I hope I helped him as well because there was a lot of communication.
"I have a huge respect for a wonderful man and coach but in time you are so engrossed in your own work you don't communicate as much and ultimately you could be a rival but the respect hasn't dropped."
Despite Chelsea's recent dominance over the Merseysiders, Rodgers stressed that should not be a barrier to overcoming Mourinho's side this time around.
"When you look at Chelsea's history in the last decade, arguably the most successful team over the last 10 years, they have also lost in big competitions and big games. When you lose, those adverse moments are often the making of you.
"We don't like to lose, and it doesn't matter who it is against, (although) in particular we haven't played well against Chelsea. The game last season (at Anfield) was disappointing for obvious reasons but we actually played well in the game and lost.
"Earlier in this season, not just the Chelsea game, there were a number of games we weren't so good in. At this moment in time it is a different feeling, a different aggression with the squad so hopefully we can go into these two games and be positive."

Ancelotti ranks Champions League win with AC Milan over Decima

Ancelotti ranks Champions League win with AC Milan over Decima Carlo Ancelotti says winning the Champions League with AC Milan was the highlight of his coaching career, and not La Decima with Real Madrid.

The 55-year-old won his third European title as a coach last year as he guided Madrid to glory in Lisbon, bringing to an end their long wait for a 10th continental crown.

However, speaking to reporters as he was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame, Ancelotti said his triumph with Milan in 2003 - when they edged out Juventus on penalties at Old Trafford - remains his fondest memory since retiring as a player.

"I've been very fortunate in my career, both as a player and as a coach. I got to play for Sacchi's Milan, and I've been really blessed as a manager, too," he said.

"If I had to single out one trophy it would be the Champions League I led Milan to against Juve in Manchester, because it was my first [Champions League as a coach]."

Ancelotti went on to describe the differences in working as a coach in the top leagues across Europe.

"Every league is different and so your experiences are different, too," he continued. "In England it's very fast-paced and people are shown a lot of respect.
The French league is very high-tempo and aggressive. Spain stands out for the love of good football, whereas I'd underline the defensive organisation and tactical know-how in Italy.

"I've had nothing but positive experiences."

Ancelotti was recognised at the ceremony in Florence, along with Diego Maradona, Fabio Cannavaro, retired referee Stefano Braschi and Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta.

Rodgers fighting on two fronts

Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool boss is hopeful of success this season
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is confident his team can overcome Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final and use the experience as a springboard for the season.
The Reds host the semi-final first-leg at Anfield on Tuesday hoping to improve on recent results against Chelsea.
A 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in November was preceded by a 2-0 reverse towards the end of last season which cost Liverpool vital ground in the title race.
Indeed Liverpool’s last victory over the Blues was a 4-1 success in May 2012 - which completed a league double over the Londoners - before Rodgers was at the club.
While the former Chelsea coach is keen to win his first trophy at Liverpool, Rodgers is adamant he will not sacrifice the chance of finishing in the top four to do so.
“Our objective is still very much to win a trophy and to qualify for the Champions League,” Rodgers said ahead of Tuesday’s Sky Live clash.
“I think that winning a trophy for us would help our future here and what we’re trying to build and what we’re trying to deliver. It will give the younger players lots of experience
“I remember being at Chelsea. I joined in 2004, and at that point in time in their history Chelsea were a club that wanted to win titles and win trophies.
“They’ve maybe done it in a different way, but they’ve certainly, over the last 10 years, shown that once you’ve won that first one that you can hopefully go on and sustain it.
“But they will tell you that the players back then, some of them who are still there now, that that first trophy at the time was the most important.
“And for us over these two games, we know it’s going to be a challenge but we know if you want to win the competition you have to beat the best teams. And at this moment in time Chelsea are the best in the country.
“But over two games we’re really looking forward to it because when we last played them we weren’t in a good moment. But now in this moment and the point of the season where we are at we are developing and improving and our confidence is very high.
“Two tough games but games that we are really relishing.”

We know how to make it hard for Barcelona & Real Madrid says; Simeone

Atletico know how to make it hard for Barcelona & Real Madrid - Simeone
The Argentine has emphasised how tough it is to play against the Clasico clubs but believes he has come up with a good gameplan
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes his side have found the right formula to stifle Barcelona and Real Madrid's games.

The Vicente Calderon side broke the decade-long duopoly the Clasico clubs had on the Liga title last term, grinding out a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on the last day of the season to seal the triumph.

Simeone, who masterminded a 4-2 aggregate Copa del Rey victory over his side's arch rivals last week, feels he has a good tactical plan for each of Barca and Madrid - despite having seen his side beaten 3-1 at Camp Nou earlier this month.

"Barcelona work in smaller spaces and Real Madrid work in more space and on the counter," he told Radio America 1190.

"When you play Real Madrid and you see things from the sidelines, the games are never ending. It is very difficult to compete with Barcelona and Madrid but we have found the necessary intensity to make things complicated for them."

Simeone has transformed Atleti's fortunes since taking over three years ago, leading them to one Copa del Rey, one Europa League and a Champions League final in addition to their Liga triumph, and he has no plans to move on from the club just yet.

"You can't understand how we were so far away from where we are now. When you know how you want to play, you don't confuse things. The challenge for us this year is even bigger.

"If things keep growing as they are growing I will not move from Atleti. I see that Atleti want to continue growing and that also allows me to get better."


  • That was another superb day of action. Algeria come from behind, just as Senegal did to rumble Avram Grant's Ghana.
    Tomorrow, Yaya Toure and the gang start their campaign as Ivory Coast face Guinea. Mali take on Cameroon...is Roger Milla still playing?
    Roger Milla
    If only. Join us to see if any of Cameroon's players can move like the great man from 15:30 GMT tomorrow and thanks for being with us today, top tweets as ever.
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    BBC Sport's Matthew Kenyon in Mongomo: Algeria make sure they go over to the far side to celebrate with their fans. It didn't look like they'd have the chance with less than half an hour to go. What a turnaround - to go with a similar story in the earlier game. Group C lives up to its expectations...
  • Gyan hopes to play a part

    Tournament news
    Posted at
    Some tournament news away from this thriller...... Ghana's Asamoah Gyan is hopeful he will play a part in the tournament despite missing his side's 2-1 defeat to Senegal earlier today with a "mild bout of Malaria".
    "We're disappointed - I thought at times we should have used our experience," he said. "They were putting pressure on us - they took control in the last 30 minutes and we should have fought for the draw. But we lost concentration and we conceded a goal in the last second of the game.
    "I was there to support my team - and we lost today. I'm feeling much better now - I'm talking to the medical team and we'll see what happens."
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    A game well balanced and competitive but Algeria show their ruthless side and will top Group C on goal difference.
    Match stats
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    A game which hinged on a 21 minute period which extended from South Africa opener to Algeria's second. In that time frame Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie smashed a penalty against the cross bar and what could have been a 2-0 lead turns into defeat and a heap of questions for the 1996 winners.

    Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Home-grown continuity seemed handy until a stray penalty...
    South aFRICA
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Islam Slimani has 17 goals in 38 league outings for Sporting Lisbon and he has looked a handful here when Algeria eventually broke into the game. Certainly one to keep an eye on as this tournament progresses.
    Islam Slimani
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Substitutions, half-hearted play, this is like a golf conclusion where the leader has a 10-shot lead (unless it's Martin Kaymer). All over as the board goes up for injury time.
    South Africa boss Ephraim Mashaba stands hands on hips and mutters on the touchline.
  • Algeria

    Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Cous Cous
    Fifa World Ranking: 18
    Population: 38.7m
    National dish: Cous Cous
    Main export: Crude Petroleum
  • Algeria 3-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    As we enter the final five minutes, you must ponder how Bafana Bafana players will sleep tonight. They were on top 25 minutes ago. This will be tough to recover from.
    Algeria now look solid but South Africa in truth have nothing left.
  • GOAL

    Algeria 3-1 South Africa - Islam Slimani
    Posted at
    Islam Slimani
    I put the kiss of death on South Africa goalkeeper Darren Keet. I'd actually added him to my list of impressive performers. Sorry mate.
    He lets an Islam Slimani shot from 18 yards dribble under his body. This one is all over. A bizarre and captivating second half.
    Slimani celebrated in style, screaming into a camera lense. Not quite a Totti selfie but decent.
  • South Africa

    Algeria 2-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Fifa World Ranking: 52
    Population: 54m
    National dish: Bobotie - is a South African dish that has Cape Malay origins. It consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. Of the many dishes common to South Africa, Bobotie is perhaps closest to being the national dish, because it isn't made in any other country.
    Main export: Expensive stuff - Gold, followed by platinum, followed by coal, followed by diamonds.
  • Algeria 2-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    BBC Sport's Matthew Kenyon in Mongomo: I can see a big Egyptian flag flying over on the other side of the stadium... the serial former champions aren't here of course, but yesterday I met a group of Egyptian workers based here in Mongomo, who were planning on coming to support their fellow north Africans tonight. I think I just found them again.
    They'll be in good mood now Matthew.

    Algeria 2-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Off comes Tokelo Rantie and what will be going through his mind. His side were one up and riding the crest of a wave, playing with energy and on their way to victory when he had a chance from the penalty spot to make the difference two.
    His effort thudded the bar and he may want to down a few drinks in the hotel bar as a result. Bongani Ndulula is on in his place...
  • Algeria 2-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    Faouzi Ghoulam has played 36 times for Napoli since signing in January of 2014.
    Faouzi Ghoulam
  • Algeria 2-1 South Africa
    Posted at
    BBC Sport's Matthew Kenyon in Mongomo: As soon as that fell to the feet of Faouzi Ghoulam you knew where it was going. The way he held himself - and then launched such a powerful shot. Fine finish. SA will think about that penalty a bit more now... it's quieter in the press box again.
  • GOAL

    Algeria 1-2 South Africa - Faouzi Ghoulam
    Posted at
    Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam is big and powerful and as the ball drops to the left back on the angle of the area he pushes it past his man, throws him aside and just puts his foot through the back of the ball.
    It goes through the goalkeeper and rustles the net. An angry finish. A swing of the left foot as vicious as the swing in this match.
  • GOAL

    Algeria 1-1 South Africa (Own goal - Thulani Hlatshwayo)
    Posted at
    The first own goal of the tournament arrives and it's a miserable moment of fortune for Thulani Hlatshwayo. An in-swinger from the left flank by Algeria's star man Yacine Brahimi is dangerous and the South African centre-back puts his head on it.
    It's in from the moment he does, looping over Darren Keet. The turf here is not quite settled and could maybe swallow Hlatshwayo up as he's probably wishing.

Algeria vs South Africa

Islam Slimani
Tournament favourites Algeria came back from a goal down to eventually earn a comfortable win in their opening game.
After dominating the first half, South Africa took a 51st-minute lead when Thuso Phala finished a flowing move.
Tokelo Rantie missed the chance to double the lead when his penalty hit the bar and Thulani Hlatshwayo headed past his own keeper to level the score.
Faouzi Ghoulam put Algeria ahead with a fierce shot and Islam Slimani squeezed the third under goalkeeper Darren Keet.
South Africa will feel they missed the chance to cause a shock - especially after having the better of things for two-thirds of the match.
It was only Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi who kept them at bay in a largely disappointing first half.
In the 23rd minute he tipped a 35-yard shot from Doncaster midfielder and South Africa captain Dean Furman on to the bar.
Then in the 42nd minute he bravely dived at the feet of Sibusiso Vilakazi as he was going round him and 60 seconds later was called into action again to save Andile Jali's shot with his knees.
South Africa went ahead early in the second half when Phala slotted the ball home from eight yards after lovely build-up play from Rantie and Vilakazi.
Three minutes later Vilakazi was brought down in the penalty area by Aissa Mandi - but Bournemouth striker Rantie hammered the spot-kick against the top of the bar and that proved to be the turning point.
Tokelo Rantie
Tokelo Rantie joined Bournemouth from Malmo in the August 2013 transfer window
Algeria levelled when Yacine Brahimi slung in a cross from the left and Bafana defender Hlatshwayo managed to loop a header over Keet and into his own net.
Four minutes later Algeria were ahead when left-back Ghoulam powered his way into the left-hand side of the area and hammered his first international goal past Keet.
Slimani made the match safe in the 82nd minute when his shot from the edge of the area trickled through Keet and rolled over the line.
The victory puts Algeria top of Group C on goal difference ahead of Senegal who beat Ghana 2-1.
South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba:
"I think our boys did very well in this game - but it's made things difficult for us because the last two games are must win. We still have two games to rectify our mistakes.
"We gave it away ourselves. This is what we're talking about - complacency. When we were 1-0 we created four chances - bury all those chances, we're gone. The missing of the penalty killed us and really disorganised us."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)


  • 23 M'bolhi
  • 20 Mandi Booked
  • 12 Medjani
  • 05 Halliche
  • 03 Ghoulam
  • 14 Bentaleb
  • 08 Lacen (Taïder - 64' )
  • 10 Feghouli
  • 11 Brahimi (Soudani - 90' )
  • 07 Mahrez (Belfodil - 60' )
  • 13 Slimani


  • 01 Doukha
  • 02 Bougherra
  • 04 Cadamuro
  • 06 Mesbah
  • 09 Belfodil
  • 15 Soudani
  • 16 Zemmamouche
  • 17 Kadir
  • 18 Djabou
  • 19 Taïder
  • 21 Kashi
  • 22 Zeffane

South Africa

  • 01 Keet
  • 06 Ngcongca
  • 14 Hlatshwayo
  • 02 Coetzee (Nhlapo - 29' )
  • 11 Matlaba Booked
  • 18 Phala
  • 15 Furman
  • 05 Jali
  • 20 Manyisa
  • 10 Vilakazi (Masango - 85' )
  • 23 Rantie (Ndulula - 79' )


  • 03 Mathoho
  • 04 Nhlapo
  • 07 Masango
  • 08 Zungu
  • 09 Ndulula
  • 12 Letsholonyane
  • 13 Sangweni
  • 16 Khuzwayo
  • 17 Parker
  • 19 Zwane
  • 21 Phungwayo
  • 22 Mabokgwane
Ref: Noumandiez Doue

Match Stats

Possession47%53%90minsAlgeriaSouth Africa


11 10

On target

6 4


6 6


12 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Algeria 3, South Africa 1.
90:00 +4:05 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Algeria 3, South Africa 1.
90:00 +1:31 Foul by Ishak Belfodil (Algeria).
90:00 +1:31 Siyabonga Nhlapo (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
89:25 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Algeria. Soudani replaces Yacine Brahimi.
88:45 Rafik Halliche (Algeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
88:45 Foul by Oupa Manyisa (South Africa).
87:41 Corner, South Africa. Conceded by Rais M'bolhi.
87:05 Corner, South Africa. Conceded by Faouzi Ghoulam.
84:43 Foul by Yacine Brahimi (Algeria).
84:43 Thuso Phala (South Africa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
84:16 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, South Africa. Mandla Masango replaces Sibusiso Vilakazi.
84:00 Corner, Algeria. Conceded by Anele Ngcongca.
82:18 Goal scored
Goal! Goal! Algeria 3, South Africa 1. Islam Slimani (Algeria) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ishak Belfodil with a headed pass.
79:07 Offside, Algeria. Yacine Brahimi tries a through ball, but Carl Medjani is caught offside.
78:42 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, South Africa. Bongani Ndulula replaces Tokelo Rantie.
78:24 Corner, Algeria. Conceded by Anele Ngcongca.
76:00 Foul by Sibusiso Vilakazi (South Africa).
76:00 Yacine Brahimi (Algeria) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
74:29 Delay over. They are ready to continue.