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Algeria tops Romania in WC warmup marred by rowdy fans

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The Canadian Press
6/4/2014 6:11:22 PM
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GENEVA -- World Cup-bound Algeria beat Romania 2-1 in a warm-up match on Wednesday marred by widespread fan disorder.

The teams were taken off the field after 43 minutes with the score 1-1, and Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic went to the centre circle to broadcast an appeal for fans to stop throwing lit flares and bottles.

Referee Nikolaj Haeni of Switzerland brought players back after a 15-minute break to play the final two minutes of the first half, then immediately changed ends to start the second period.

When El Arabi Soudani scored the decisive goal in the 66th minute, around 15 fans ran on the pitch from three sides of the Stade de Geneve.

Nabil Bentaleb had put Algeria ahead in the 21st minute after a handling error by Romania goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, and Alexandru Chipciu levelled in the 28th.

"The result is very satisfying. The team is progressing on all levels," said Halilhodzic, adding he was "a bit disappointed with the behaviour of our supporters."

The final whistle brought around 1,000 of the 15,600 spectators on to the field. Many dispersed when water sprinklers were turned on, though some continued to clash with stewards in one corner of the pitch.

Algeria opens against Group H favourite Belgium on June 17 in Belo Horizonte. It then plays South Korea in Porto Alegre and Russia in Curitiba.

Despite events in the stands, Algeria made a good impression on the field.

Abdelmoumene Djabou and Bentaleb gave Romania right-back Vlad Chiriches, Bentaleb's Tottenham teammate, a tough time and Algeria's best moves flowed there.

Sofiane Feghouli twice wasted clear shooting chances in the 17th minute, before Algeria led when Manchester City 'keeper Pantilimon spilled Djabou's cross.

Bentaleb and Feghouli converged on the loose ball which looped into the empty goal.

The goal sparked a firework display around the stadium with at least 15 flares burning in the stands.

Romania levelled seven minutes later when Alexandru Chipciu beat the offside line, rounded goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi who had charged out of his penalty area, and rolled the ball into an unguarded goal.

Fan trouble resumed in the second period when an Algerian supporter encroached on the pitch in the 57th as his team prepared to take a corner.

A mini-pitch invasion followed Algeria retaking the lead in the 66th when El Arabi Soudani connected with Saphir Taider's pass from the right side of the penalty area.

Algeria (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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