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," Gourcuff said, who replaced Vahid Halilhodzic after the FIFA 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.
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.