MARIBOR, SLOVENIA - JUNE 4: Milivoje Novakovic (L) of Slovenia celebrates his second goal with team mate Bostjan Cesar during the International Friendly match between Slovenia and New Zealand at the Stadion Ljudski vrt on June 4, 2010 in Maribor, Slovenia. (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)

World Cup 2010: Koren, Slovenia Down Algeria, 1-0

A draw between the United States and England opens the door for Slovenia to gain some control over Group C. First, the Slovenes have to get past Algeria on Sunday morning.

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Late Goal From Robert Koren Gives Slovenia 1-0 Win Over Algeria, Group C Lead

Slovenia captain Robert Koren’s 79th goal needed some Green-esque help from Algeria goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, but whereas Clint Dempsey’s Saturday goal was only worth one point to his side, Koren’s goal gives Slovenia three points and the lead in Group C.

In a match of few scoring chances, Koren put a speculative, 18 yard shot toward Chaouchi from near the arc. The open-footed shot did not have much power on it, but Chaouchi failed to move he feet to stay in front of the ball, and after a skid along the ground two yards in front of him, Chaouchi let the shot beat him to his far post.

By that time, Algeria was playing with ten men, with substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal having been shown a second yellow care five minutes before. Ghezzal was giving a yellow card early in the second for pulling an opponents shirt. What was judged to be an intentional handball in the 73rd minute earned Ghezzal a second red, putting his team down a man for the final seventeen minutes.

Those seventeen minutes were not appreciably different than the 73 that preceded it, with play from both sides characterized by poor link-up play, a lack of imagination, and an inability to counter-attack against an opposition that risked little going forward.

With Slovenia’s fortunate goal, they sit atop Group C with three points, two points ahead of both England and the United States, their next opponent. Algeria goes into their match with England on zero points.

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