Miraculous comeback lifts Algeria past Morocco

14 Jan. 2021

Miraculous comeback lifts Algeria past Morocco

For 50 minutes, the game seemed to be lost for Algeria. Yet, “Les Fennecs” found a way to come back against Morocco to take a crucial 24:23 win in the Group F African derby.

Algeria vs Morocco 24:23 (8:15)

When Algeria Coach Alain Portes said the first African derby at the 27th IHF Men’s World Championship would be a tough, physical game, he knew exactly what he meant. There is no love lost between the two rivals, who have faced each other more than 20 times in their history.

But never have Morocco enjoyed such a good start in a game against their rival neighbours.

With goalkeeper Yassine Idrissi in superb form – saving two penalty shots in the first five minutes – Morocco were able to brush off Mohamed Bentaleb’s sending off.

Despite having two men suspended at the same time, Morocco enjoyed two superb unanswered 4:0 and 2:0 runs, that left Algeria behind, 2:6.

It went from bad to worse for Algeria, despite two time-outs from coach Alain Portes, who tried to calm his side down.

The aggressive Moroccan defence, which shifted from 5-1 to 3-2-1 several times, put a serious strain on Algeria’s attack, limiting their attacking efficiency to only 36 per cent in the first half, with 14 missed shots, including six one-on-ones with Idrissi.

Therefore, it was no surprise that Algeria trailed by seven goals, 8:15, at the break, needing a miracle second half to get back into the game.

And a miracle they got. With 18 minutes to go, Morocco were leading, 19:13, but with a superb Abdi Ayoub, who scored seven times, Algeria started to make a run. Morocco began to falter due to the intensity of their defending and having another two players, Mehdi Ismaili and Hicham Hakimi, sent off for three suspensions, Algeria made their comeback.

A clever steal followed by an open-goal converted shot from Daoud Hichem, only his second in the game, sealed a 7:2 run for Algeria, and a seventh consecutive victory against Morocco, 24:23.

It is a crucial win for Algeria, who now have two points and an advantage to progress to the main round from Group F.

hummel Player of the Match: Yassine Idrissi, Morocco