Nigeria, Egypt And Cote D’Ivoire Win Opening World Cup Qualifiers
The third round of African World Cup qualifiers began this past weekend, with the 20 teams from the continent left with a chance of securing one of the five spots allocated to Africa in action throughout the continent.
Drawn into five groups of four teams each, with the winner of the group after a round-robin format qualifies for Russia 2018.
Here is how the 10 African World Cup qualifying matches turned out for the participating nations looking to earn their ticket to Russia in two years’ time.
DR Congo 4-0 Libya
Group A opponents DR Congo and Libya clashed in Kinshasa on Saturday, with the Leopards crushing the Mediterranean Knights 4-0 to secure three points and ensure the sacking of Libya manager Javier Clemente. A brace from striker Dieumerci Mbokani and goals from Firmin Ndombe Mubele and Jonathan Bolingi earned the massive victory for the home side.
Tunisia 2-0 Guinea
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia started their campaign off with a bang in their Group A match against Guinea, winning 2-0 in Monastir on Sunday. A goalless first half gave way to a dominant display from Tunisia in the second half, with defender Aymen Abdennour opening the scoring for the home side. A second goal 10 minutes from time thanks to striker Ahmed Akaichi made sure of the result for the North Africans in the first round of group stage World Cup qualifiers.
Zambia 1-2 Nigeria
A positive away victory for the Super Eagles saw them return home with a valuable three points earned in Ndola with a 2-1 victory. The Nigerians dominated the first half, with goals from Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho setting them up well at half time. But Zambia would bounce back, however, and a goal from Collins Mbesuma gave the home team hope, but Nigeria did well to hang on and secure the win.
Algeria 1-1 Cameroon
Bejamin Moukandjo equalised for the visiting Indomitable Lions after Algeria’s El Arbi Soudani opened the scoring for the Fennec Foxes on Sunday in a Group B encounter at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium. The match would end 1-1, allowing both teams to take a point from the clash and sit tied for second place in the group after the opening round of fixtures.
Gabon 0-0 Morocco
Gabon and Morocco who drew 0-0 in Franceville over the weekend, frustrating the home fans who were expecting African Player of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make the difference for the Panthers in these World Cup qualifiers. He came close on a few occasions, but the striker was not able to break the deadlock and the two sides shared the points.
Cote D’Ivoire 3-1 Mali
African champions Cote D’Ivoire took on the Malian Eagles in a high profile West African encounter that went the way of the hosts. Mali began the match in excellent fashion, scoring on 18 minutes through Sambou Yatabare to take the lead. But Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia made sure that the Ivorians were back in the game with an equaliser soon after. An own goal by Salif Coulibaly gave Cote D’Ivoire the lead, before Gervinho made sure of victory with his goal to secure a 3-1 win.
Burkina Faso 1-1 South Africa
South Africa travelled to Burkina Faso in search of a positive start to their World Cup qualifying campaign after missing out on a place at the upcoming 2017 AFCON, and they can be happy with snatching a point from the Stallions. Burkina Faso failed to score from two penalties during the game, allowing Bafana to take the lead with 10 minutes left in the encounter through midfielder Dean Furman. Bafana should have held on for the win, but poor defending allowed Banou Diawara to score an injury time equaliser. A draw was probably the fair result, as Burkina Faso had dominated the game and determined defending kept them at bay for most of the match.
Senegal 2-0 Cape Verde
The Teranga Lions of Senegal managed to open their account in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with a solid 2-0 victory over the islanders of Cape Verde. Lazio attacker Balde Diao Keita opened the account for Senegal in the first half, while substitute Moussa Sow scored the nation’s second goal in the 80th minute for a comprehensive opening victory at home.
Ghana 0-0 Uganda
The Tamale Stadium in Ghana played host to a disappointing goalless stalemate between the Black Stars and visitors Uganda. The Cranes will certainly have returned home the happier of the two countries, with a valuable away point from their West African opponents counting heavily in their favour
Congo 1-2 Egypt
The Pharaohs of Egypt came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over hosts Congo on Sunday night. The Red Devils went ahead on 24 minutes through a Ferebory Dore header, but the Egyptians reacted well and managed to equalise before half time through Roma striker Mohamed Salah’s header. The match was decided by a Abdallah Saied goal in the 58th minute to ensure all three points for Hector Cuper’s Pharaohs.