Uruguay have reinvigorated their Nigeria 2009 campaign by securing a 2-0 win over Algeria, whose qualification hopes now hang by a thread. Second-half goals from Sebastian Gallegos and an own goal sealed a crucial and deserved win for the South Americans.
Uruguay and Algeria both came into the match having lost their respective opening matches, so it was no surprise that the two came out firing and looking to attack. Uruguay made the first statement after nine minutes when Adrian Luna's remarkable free-kick hit the crossbar and Christian Alba's rebound header from close-range ended up in the arms of relieved Algerian goalkeeper Abdennour Merzouki.
At the other end Mohamed Omrami's header squeezed centimetres the wrong side of the left post as Algeria seemed set to open the scoring on 18 minutes. Then it was Uruguay's turn to bemoan a gilt-edged chance to score; captain Diego Polenta directing a powerful header from point-blank range from a corner only to see the ball blocked by the face of goalkeeper Merzouki who knew little about the interception.
The first goal was always going to be crucial and it was the South Americans who had the perfect start to the second half. Algeria's defenders struggled to clear a corner and Ibrahim Bekakchi was unlucky to poke into his own net. Conceding so soon after the interval stunned the Algerians who took fully 20 minutes to recover from the shock and create a serious attempt on goal.
Substitute Ziri Hammar started a solo run and fired a shot from just outside the penalty box, but Uruguay's keeper Salvador Ichazo made the save. Hammar's half-time entry to the match provided a boost to the Algerians, with the midfielder always looking for the ball and trying to create openings. However, a counter-attack undid the North Africans with tiny playmaker Sebastian Gallegos receiving the ball on the corner of the box before moving into the middle and placing his shot under the crossbar for the sealer.
Following an opening 3-1 reverse against Korea Republic, Uruguay now meet Italy needing at least a point to be certain of reaching the knockout stage. Algeria must overcome the Koreans if they are to stand any chance of squeezing into the Round of 16.