19.01.2015 23:29 h

Penalty miss the turning point for Gourcuff

Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff accepted a missed penalty by Tokelo Rantie proved crucial as his side stormed back to beat South Africa 3-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

Thuso Phala put Bafana Bafana ahead early in the second half in the Group C game in Mongomo, before Rantie missed a chance to make it 2-0 from the spot.

And a Thulani Hlatshwayo own-goal restored parity before Faouzi Ghoulam and Islam Slimani secured a big win for the pre-tournament favourites.

"Our start to the second half was catastrophic," said Gourcuff, who replaced Vahid Halilhodzic after the World Cup finals last year.

"Given the problems we were having in midfield on a pitch that does not favour passing football, I brought on (Ishak) Belfodil to give their defence more problems. We managed to gain the upper hand at the end of the match.

"It was a real test for the players on a pitch which does not allow you to keep the ball.

"It was a very intense match. The penalty was a turning point, because at 2-0 the game was not over but we would have been in a difficult situation," added the 59-year-old Frenchman.

Algeria could qualify with a win against Ghana in their next game, also in Mongomo, on Friday, depending on the outcome of the other Group C match between Senegal and South Africa.

Senegal came from behind to beat Ghana 2-1 earlier on Monday.