Saturday, 7 September 2019

African World Cup qualifiers: Advantage Angola, Morocco and Burkina Faso draw in friendly

Angola defeated Gambia 1-0 in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier on Friday evening.

The round one encounter, which took place in the West African nation, was decided by a Bruno Gaspar effort in the 32nd minute. Both nations will face off on Tuesday, September 10 to determine who progresses to the group stage.

In the other encounter which held earlier on Friday, Comoros and Togo had to make do with a 1-1 draw at Stade de Moroni.

Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba sent the Sparrowhawks ahead in the 34th minute of game, and it stayed that way till half-time.

Minutes after the restart, though, the hosts found an equalizer through Ibroihim Djoudja in the 51st minute.

Neither side was able to find a winner, and it leaves all to play for when they meet in the reverse fixture in a few days.

Of the 54 African countries battling for one of five spots at the World Cup, the lowest-ranked 28 nations are contesting two-legged first round qualifiers, with the 14 winners advancing to join the top 26 teams in 10 four-nation groups.

The 10 winners of those groups will then face off in home-and-away ties for places at the global showpiece in Qatar.

In what is unprecedented, Fifa is broadcasting all of the round one matches across the continent live on their digital platforms.

In the day’s friendlies, Vahid Halilhodzic was unable to pick up his first win on his bow as Morocco boss as the North African nation’s encounter with Burkina Faso ended 1-1.

After a goalless first-half, Hakim Ziyech had a chance to open the scoring for the Atlas Lions five minutes after the restart but missed his penalty.

Cyrille Bayala then opened the scoring for the Stallions in the 71st minute, but the North Africans found a late leveller through Zouhair Feddal with two minutes of normal time to play.

Elsewhere, there was late drama in the meeting between Benin and Ivory Coast, which the former edged 2-1.

With the fixture seemingly set to end goalless, the game sprang into life in the final 10 minutes after Roger Assale opened the scoring for the Elephants in the 81st minute.

However, Michel Dussuyer’s team didn’t accept defeat with two goals in five minutes coming from Jodel Dossou and Stephane Sessegnon in the 82nd and 85th minutes, respectively, to secure a late comeback at Stade Michel-d'Ornano in Caen.

In Rades, Amor Layouni’s 79th-minute strike was enough to help Tunisia see off Mauritania.

It was Mondher Kebaier’s first game in charge of the Eagles of Carthage, and the 49-year-old will have been pleased to begin on a winning note.

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