Thursday Nov 14, 2019. 23:54
Continental heavyweights Algeria and Ghana opened their qualification campaigns for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with important home victories on Thursday, while Egypt – shorn of Mohamed Salah – were unable to get the better of Kenya.
The Pharaohs were held 1-1 by the Harambee Stars at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria in an early-evening game, with Mahmoud Kahraba’s goal late in the first half cancelled out midway through the second by Michael Olunga. The result means Comoros are the surprise early leaders of Group G, after a goal from Faiz Slemani saw them defeat hosts Togo 1-0 in a concurrent game in Lome.
The night games were headlined by Algeria’s 5-0 destruction of Zambia at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida. Goals from Ramy Bensebaini, Baghdad Bounedjah (two), Youcef Belaili and Hillal Soudani saw the 2019 AFCON champions take early control of Group H and underline their status as the top team on the continent.
Ghana have long hungered to return to AFCON-winning status and will be hopeful that Cameroon 2021 will see an end to their long trophy drought. They are certainly off to a fine start in their qualification campaign after defeating Group C rivals South Africa 2-0 at Cape Coast Sports Stadium courtesy of goals from Thomas Partey and Kudus Mohammed.
The Group D match between DR Congo’s Leopards and the Panthers of Gabon ended in a goalless stalemate in Kinshasa, while there was rather more goal mouth action on show in Bamako as the West African derby between Group A sides Mali and Guinea ended 2-2. Adama Traore and Sekou Keita netted for the Eagles, while the Syli Nationale responded through Naby Keita and Sekou Konde.
2021 AFCON qualifiers results, Thursday 14 November
Egypt 1-1 Kenya – Group G
Mozambique 2-0 Rwanda – Group F
Togo 0-1 Comoros – Group G
Algeria 5-0 Zambia – Group H
DR Congo 0-0 Gabon – Group D
Ghana 2-0 South Africa – Group C
Mali 2-2 Guinea – Group A