Africa Cup of Nations Group C South Africa Algeria
Posted: 19 January 2015 Time: 18:10
South Africa started their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 3-1 loss to Algeria at the Estadio de Mongomo in Equatorial Guinea on Monday night.
Bafana Bafana took the lead through Thuso Phala, but were undone by an own goal by Thulani Hlatshwayo and strikes from Faouzi Ghoulam and Islam Slimani.
Ephraim Mashaba's men will be especially disappointed, as Tokelo Rantie missed a penalty with the team ahead, while captain Dean Furman hit the woodwork.
The defeat was Mashaba's first in 11 outings since returning to the national hotseat in September last year.
Earlier, Group C rivals Senegal edged Ghana 2-1 at the same venue.
Algeria - Africa's top ranked side - started strongly, as BBC African Footballer of the Year Yacine Brahimi and Napoli's Ghoulam tested Darren Keet with useful efforts early on.
However, Bafana had the best chance of the opening half through Furman, whose long-range piledriver was superbly tipped on to the crossbar by Rais M'Bolhi.
The 1996 continental champions then suffered a setback in the 29th minute, as teenage defender Rivaldo Coetzee was forced off with an injury, prompting the introduction of Siyabonga Nhlapo.
Mashaba's charges, though, improved as the half went on, and nearly struck twice just before the interval were it not for the impressive M'Bolhi.
First M'Bolhi bravely stole the ball off the feet of Sibusiso Vilakazi before blocking a shot from close range by Andile Jali.
Bafana were eventually rewarded for their pressure in the 51st minute, as SuperSport United winger Phala steered the ball home in the area following excellent build-up play by Vilakazi and Rantie.
Rantie could have made it 2-0 four minutes later, but the Bournemouth striker thumped a penalty against the crossbar after Aissa Mandi brought down Vilakazi in the box. Mandi should have been dismissed for his challenge as the last man.
Soon after Keet made a fantastic double save to deny Slimani from close range, with the keeper pushing the second attempt onto the crossbar and out.
The north Africans continued to press, and equalised in the 67th minute when a stretching Hlatshwayo inadvertently headed the ball past Keet.
Ghoulam then fired Algeria in front in the 72nd minute with a venomous strike after bursting past Oupa Manyisa down the left flank.
The towering Slimani made the game safe for the Desert Foxes in the 83rd minute, as his left-footed shot crept under Keet.