Luanda: Algeria were handed a World Cup reality check when supposed minnows Malawi meted out a 3-0 thrashing to the Desert Foxes in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Malawi were whipped 3-0 by Algeria on their only previous appearance in this competition 26 years ago.
But thanks to Russel Mwafulirwa, Ivis Kafoteka and Davie Banda, it was Algeria who were on the wrong side of a lopsided scoreline this time around.
After Sunday's 4-4 draw between Angola and Mali these three points put Malawi in a strong position to make it out of Group A and into the quarter-finals.
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane put the shock loss down to a cocktail of well organised rivals, the searing mid-afternoon heat, and errors on the part of his players.
"We hope the Confederation of African Football (organisers) can organise matches later because the weather was very hot and we didn't perform well.”
"Our best players did not do their best - it was a difficult time to play.”
"They weren't in their best shape, there was a lot of humidity. We hope to play later next time."
Turning to Malawi, he added: "They play simple and precise soccer. A 3-0 defeat did hurt our hearts but we must be humble and accept it and congratulate Malawi."
Opposite number Kinnah Phiri suggested the result, while unexpected, was not totally out of the blue.
"We came here as underdogs but we've been playing well, the signs were there. We drew 1-1 with Egypt, drew 0-0 with Ghana, and beat Mozambique in warm up games."
The game was held in a near ghostly silence, with all but a couple of hundred of the 11 November stadium's shiny new 50,000 seats vacant.
With few visiting fans the locals were either at work, it being Monday afternoon and all, or nursing severe hangovers after watching their heroes let slip a four goal lead against Mali the night before.
First Published: Monday, January 11, 2010, 23:51