Halilhodzic's players recovered nicely from a disappointing 2014 World Cup qualifying loss away to Mali with a convincing 4-1 victory over Gambia on the road to the 2013 Afcon
A brace from rising striker Islam Slimani and two others from Foued Kadir and El Arbi Hillel Soudani gave Algeria a 4-1 victory over Gambia at the Mustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida on Friday.
Unlike the match in Banjul, the Algerians were on top within the first minute, with Kadir’s persistence paying off as he created a chance for Slimani and then cleaned it up when the ball fell to him in the penalty box. Just four minutes later, Slimani got on the score-sheet as well, scoring a powerful full volley after a well-executed knock-down header by Soudani.
Up 4-1 on aggregate, the Algerians suffered a lapse in concentration that the Gambians didn’t forgive as Gassama was given too much time and space to try his luck from distance. The 18-year-old’s right footed blast clanged off the underside of Rais M’Bolhi’s crossbar and past the goal-line to reduce the deficit for the Scorpions who still had plenty of work to do.
Algeria regained control over the midfield but struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities until the beginning of the second half. Fresh out of the dressing rooms, the Fennecs headed the instructions of coach Vahid Halilhodzic as Soudani once again played provider for Slimani who got his second of the match on 48 minutes.
Sixty-five minutes into the game, Soudani got his own finish to add to his two assists, getting on the end of a probing Mehdi Mostefa cross at the back post. The goal took the sting out the match as it was clear that there was no way back for the Scorpions and the north Africans held on to a 6-2 aggregate victory, sending them into the final round of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.