A superb goal by Antar Yahia gave Algeria a 1-0 victory over Egypt Wednesday and a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The France-born defender who plays for German club VfL Bochum struck on 40 minutes to settle a play-off necessitated by the bitter North African rivals finishing level on points and goal difference in one of five African groups.
As a lofted through ball landed in the Egyptian penalty area, veteran Abdelzaher al-Saqqa allowed it to drop behind him and Yahia stunningly volleyed an unstoppable shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
African champions Egypt dominated the second half territorially only to come up against a watertight defence backed by brilliant stand-in goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi.
The match at a packed 45,000-seat Al-Merreikh Stadium passed without incident amid tight security after the Algerian team bus was attacked in Cairo last Thursday, leaving three players injured and triggering reprisal attacks.
On Saturday, Emad Moteab scored five minutes into stoppage time to give Egypt a 2-0 win which raised hopes of a first appeanance at the World Cup in 20 years.
But it is the 'Desert Foxes', back at the finals for the first time since 1986, who will join hosts South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria at the first World Cup to be staged by Africa.
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