Algeria emerge victorious from fiery encounter

Goals from Nabil Bentaleb and El Arabi Soudani saw off Romania at Stade de Geneve

Algeria’s El Arbi Hilal Soudani (left) celebrates his goal with fellow goalscorer against Romania Nabil Bentaleb. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi / EPA

Algeria’s El Arbi Hilal Soudani (left) celebrates his goal with fellow goalscorer against Romania Nabil Bentaleb. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi / EPA

 

Algeria 2 Romania 1

Algeria again looked anything but World Cup outsiders as they beat Romania 2-1 with a lively performance in a friendly marred by unruly behaviour by their fans on Wednesday.

Nabil Bentaleb and El Arabi Soudani scored in each half for Algeria, backed by around 15,000 supporters who poured across the border from France to create a raucous atmosphere at the Stade de Geneve.

The fans used pyrotechnics to celebrate the first goal and play was interrupted two minutes before halftime when an object was thrown onto the field, prompting Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodvic to make an announcement from the centre circle appealing for calm.

Around a dozen fans ran on to the field to celebrate the winning goal in the second half and hundreds more invaded the pitch at the end.

This prompted stadium authorities to turn the sprinklers on in an attempt to clear the field which was already soaked from a pre-match downpour.

Algeria, who beat Armenia 3-1 in nearby Sion on Saturday, were again lively coming forward and Sofian Feghouli twice missed good chances to put them ahead.

Feghouli also set up Abdelmoumene Djabou with an exquisite through ball but the forward wasted the chance by falling over and appealing for a penalty.

Djabou atoned with a superb twisting run and cross which was fumbled by Romania goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Bentaleb bundled the ball over the line in the 22nd minute.

Algerian fans went delirious and lit flares around the stadium, causing play to be briefly interrupted while the smoke cleared.

Romania levelled six minutes later when Alexandru Chipciu broke clear and rounded goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi, who came way too far off his line, and slotted into an empty net.

The crowd quickly turned hostile and the Swiss referee led the players off in the 43rd minute amid general confusion after more trouble.

In an almost unprecedented move, they returned after a 15-minute interval, played the remaining two minutes of the first half, changed ends and immediately started the second.

Croatia-based Soudani sent the crowd wild again in the 66th minute when he connected with Saphir Taider’s cross to fire the winner.

Algeria face Belgium, Russia and South Korea in World Cup Group H and looked more than capable of holding their own.

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