FIFA WORLD CUP: Mahrez's Algeria Win Thriller

Riyad Mahrez’s Algeria took a giant step towards qualification for the next round of the Fifa World Cup after a thrilling 4-2 victory over South Korea in Port Alegre on Sunday night.
The win lifts them to second place in the group with only a fixture against Russia remaining. A win in that game would guarantee their progress to the second round, while a draw could also see them advance if South Korea fail to beat Belgium. 

After becoming the first City player in 12 years to appear in a World Cup when he started the opening fixture against Belgium, Mahrez was named among the substitutes for Sunday’s game with South Korea – one of five changes to the XI. 

Knowing that a defeat would end their World Cup hopes, the Desert Foxes raced out of the blocks with a dazzling display of first half football that saw them create a host of chances on their way to a 3-0 lead at the break. 

Islam Slimani made the initial breakthrough when he ran onto a long ball to nudge a shot past the South Korean goalkeeper, and less than two minutes later former Fulham man Rafik Halliche headed them 2-0 up from a corner. 

There was still time for Abdelmoumene Djabou to slide home a third, before the South Koreans rallied after the break with a drilled finish from Song Heung-min. 

However Algeria’s Yacine Brahimi then added a fourth to re-establish a three-goal cushion just after the hour mark and make the game seemingly safe, meaning there was no need to call for Mahrez from the bench. 

Koo Ja-cheol did snatch another goal from close range with 15 minutes left, but the excellent Algerian side had done enough with a performance that will have impressed many. 

Despite Algeria’s first World Cup win since the 1982 tournament, Belgium remain hot favourites to go through as Group H winners, with the second placed team to face either Germany, Ghana, Portugal or the USA in the next round. 

Mahrez and his team-mates will be back in action for their final group game against Russia on Thursday (26 June, 9pm BST).

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