Soccer  > World Cup  > Late goal sends U.S. to second round
June 23, 2010, 12:47 PM
PRETORIA, South Africa -- Landon Donovan scored 49 seconds into injury time to give the United States a dramatic 1-0 victory over Algeria on Wednesday and send it to the second round of the World Cup.

Donovan ran onto a rebound after Algerian keeper Rais M'Bohli blocked Clint Dempsey's initial shot and scored from the middle of the penalty area to spark a wild celebration by the U.S. players at the corner flag.

It was the third time in past five trips to the World Cup that the United States has advanced to the second round and the first time in 80 years that it finished atop its group. Donovan's goal, his career-leading 44th in his 126 appearances for the United States, came after the Americans had a goal disallowed in the first half and repeatedly threatened the Algerian net in the final 35 minutes.

Combined with England's 1-0 victory over Slovenia, the Americans finished with five points and atop Group C, ahead of the English on goal difference. The United States next plays Saturday against the runner-up from Group D. Those places were to be decided later Wednesday.

After allowing goals in the first 15 minutes of both previous matches, the Americans earned their first shutout in 13 games.

The United States appeared headed for more frustration after repeated near misses.

But the Americans finally converted, scoring on a quick counter that started with Donovan, who sent the ball wide right to Jozy Altidore. The 20-year-old striker laid a ball into the path of a streaking Dempsey, whose shot was pushed by M'Bohli into the top of the area where Donovan was following the play.

The Americans piled on top of one another in jubiliation and adde to their growing reputation of late drama.

After having an apparent winner disallowed in its previous match, a 2-2 draw with Slovenia, Dempsey had a goal voided in the 20th on a disputed offside call. The disallowed strike immediately followed after M'Bohli thwarted Herculez Gomez from inside the six-yard box.

Dempsey also hit the right post in the 57th, driving down the middle of the area and running on to deflected ball only to shoot it off the inside of the frame.

Algeria finished last in the group with one point having allowed two goals but without having scored a goal.

Besides Dempsey's shot off the post, M'Bohli thwarted Benny Feilhaber's cross with a clip of his leg in the 65th and Edson Buddle had his header from inside the area blocked in the 68th.

Algeria tested the American defense early, hitting the crossbar in the sixth minute, before the United States settled and had the better of chances for the rest of the first half.

Besides the disallowed goal, Dempsey had his toe-poked effort blocked by M'Bohli in the 35th and Altidore shot high at an open goal from the edge of the goal box in the 37th minute.

The Americans, which allowed first-half goals in both of their opening matches before rallying, nearly gave up another early one when center back Jay DeMerit missed his clearance attempt, allowing AEK forward Rafik Djebbour to settle the ball and blast a right-footed effort off the bar from 11 meters.

The United States became the second CONCACAF team to reach the second round, joining southern neighbor Mexico, and along with England increased the number of teams qualified for the knockout phase to eight.

Group C

x-advanced to second round
Saturday, June 12
England 1, United States 1
Sunday, June 13
Algeria 0, Slovenia 1
Friday, June 18
Slovenia 2, United States 2
England 0, Algeria 0
Wednesday, June 23
United States 1, Algeria 0
Slovenia 0, England 1

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