Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Donovan's late goal puts USA on top

Group C, 14:00 GMT, June 23, 2010
Loftus Versfeld Stadium

United States
1 - 0

USA have topped Group C as Landon Donovan hit a late winner against Algeria to give them a 1-0 win. Clint Dempsey's first-half goal was wrongly ruled out for offside but Donovan struck with seconds left to leapfrog England.

The United States, watched on by former President Bill Clinton, dominated for large periods and created a host of chances but looked set to be denied by a mixture of the woodwork, good goalkeeping and poor finishing.
However, Donovan popped up right at the end to slot into the net and send the Americans through as Group C winners ahead of England, who beat Slovenia in the other game. USA will now play the second-placed team from Group D, which includes Ghana, Germany, Serbia and Australia.
Algeria, who have never progressed to the second round of the World Cup, hit the woodwork early on and created a couple of other chances but were unable to net their first goal of the finals as they tumbled out.

Scoring Summary

United StatesAlgeria
Landon Donovan (90') 

Man of the Match: Michael Bradley


  • Man of the Match: Michael Bradley - A solid all-round performance from the coach's son. He looked inventive on the ball and provided a creative presence in midfield, though he also worked hard. He showed plenty of industry in chasing back and breaking up possession when Algeria had the ball in what was an impressive box-to-box display.

  • USA verdict: By far and away the better team, it seemed that USA's profligacy would cost them after both Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were guilty of missing clear-cut chances. But Landon Donovan popped up late on to save their tournament and ensure Bob Bradley's side top the group.

  • Algeria verdict: Started brightly, with Rafik Djebbour hitting the bar in first ten minutes, but after that they were dominated by their opponents. Looked shaky at the back and were reduced to ambitious efforts from distance as they fell limply out of the tournament. Nadir Belhadj was once again one of Algeria's star performers along with Karim Ziani, but there were few positives to take out of this one for the Desert Foxes.

  • Could do better: Assistant referee - For the second game in a row, USA were denied a goal by a poor decision from the match official. On this occasion, the assistant referee ruled Clint Dempsey's first-half strike offside, despite the fact that replays showed Majid Bougherra to be playing him on.

  • Stat attack: This was USA's first World Cup clean sheet since their 1-0 win over England back in 1950.

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