Robert Koren had a goal to lead Slovenia to a 1-0 victory over Algeria in Group C play of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on Sunday.
Koren’s goal came in the 79th minute of the game with a weak shot from just outside the box that was just able to bounce past Algerian goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi that he probably should have saved.
The goal came with the Algerian side forced to play with 10 men because of a couple of yellow cards that Abdelkader Ghezzal picked up.
The first one came in the 58th minute, almost immediately after he was subbed in, and the second one was in the 72nd minute when the Algerian forward picked up a blatant intentional hand ball infraction trying to keep a long pass under control.
The loss of Ghezzal was costly not only because it reduced the number of men Algeria could field but because he was one of the lone bright spots offensively for Algeria after he entered the match.
In the 69th, and 70th minutes Ghezzal had a couple of great headed oppoerunties. The first one came from a cross from the left side by Karim Ziani, but Ghezzal missed the target over the cross bar. The second attempt was off of another cross, this time from the right side and from Foued Kadir, that the forward could not get his head on it.
Another great Algerian chance came in the 77th minute when Samir Handanovic, the Slovenian goalkeeper, almost made a fatal error. After receiving a back pass, the Slovenian keeper gifted Ziani with a poor pass that was meant for his defender. Handanovic was able to avert disaster by quickly making a diving recovery of the ball and then smothering it.
Other than the goal, Slovenia did not manage much offence. However, they did come up with a couple of good chances in the game.
Their first good chance came in the 42nd minute when Chaouchi was able to punch out an impressive looking strike by Valter Birsa over the net. The opportunity came because Koren was able to spot Birsa in a pocket of open space a few yards just outside the box.
The second exceptional chance the Slovenian side had was during the 59th minute when Andraz Kirm found himself with space in the left side of the box but he harmlessly shot the ball straight into Chaouchi’s hands.
The Slovenian victory is the European nation’s very first in their history of the FIFA World Cup. It also puts them atop of the Group C standings due to the United States and England drawing 1-1 on Saturday.
The next game for Slovenia will be against the United States on June 18 at 10:00 AM EST.
Algeria will face England on the same day at 2:30 PM EST. They will be without the services of Ghezzal in that game because of the red card that he took.