Algeria win dents SA under 23’s Olympics dream

ALGERIA dented SA’s chances of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics when they beat Owen da Gama’s team 2-0 in the second semifinal in Dakar, Senegal on Wednesday evening.

With Nigeria having confirmed the first spot at the Rio Olympics following a 1-0 win over hosts Senegal, SA will now meet the West Africans for the final third slot on Saturday to determine who joins Algeria and Nigeria to South America next year.

The North Africans threatened right from the first whistle, and appeared the more organised outfit going forward.

It came as no surprise when Algeria took the lead in the ninth minute through Oussamma Darfalou who lobbed over Jody February when the swift Algerians caught the South Africans backline flat-footed. From there on, Owen da Gama’s side were always going to chase the game.

After the goal, the North Africans were all over SA and in the 16th minute, again forced February to make a fine save as they sought to double their advantage.

In the 19th minute, Gift Motupa could have done better when he was set up by Riyaad Norodien but blazed his effort over the bar with only the keeper to beat.

It was Algeria who again showed more purpose in the second half and it came as no surprise when Benkhemassa collected a loose ball from a corner kick and rifled home an unstoppable shot past the diving February to give the North Africans a 2-0 lead in the 50th min.

Deolin Mekoa could have done better in the 62nd minute after a good cross by Abbubakar Mobara but failed to connect when the keeper was well- beaten.

The miss summed up SA’s disappointing evening and they will now hope to pick themselves up for the match against a wounded Senegal. – ANA