Algeria 1-0 Mali
World Cup bound Algeria returned to winning ways with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Mali in Group A of the ongoing Nations Cup.
Halliche soared above his Malian markers and knocked in a cross from close range to beat an on-coming Diakite for Algeria's priceless goal.
It was billed to be a cracker following Algeria's shock 0-3 defeat to un-fancied Malawi and the Malians amazing comeback against host Angola but in reality it did not leave up to expectation.
Algeria may have appeased their supporters back at home, but truth be told they were not convincing on the day.
The Malians were completely out of sorts and did not look like a team ready to make it to the quarter finals stage of the tournament.
N'diaye who surprisingly was picked by Stephen Keshi ahead of Frederic Kanoute had early in the 9th minute been presented with a scoring opportunity, but typical of the Mali team on the day, he looked dull and bereft of ideas and lost possession in the process.
Both teams advertised some sloppy passing and conceded possession rather too easily.
In the 42nd minute Halliche punished Maiga for giving away a needless free-kick just at the threshold of the 18-yard box heading home a teasing cross from Belhadj for the only goal.
Back from recess, there was little to choose from the two sides with Mali looking increasingly disenchanted.
Bacelona star Seidu Keita looked a peripheral figure upfront, playing deep in attack but getting no support.
Even when Frederic Kanoute came in with 30 minutes left to play, the Malian attack looked far from being potent.
The Algerian's rearguards were rather organized putting the brakes well on the Malians.
The North Africans will be gracious for that win, but obviously have a huge work to do if they have any title ambitions.
Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana