Friday Mar 24, 2023. 23:21
Friday brought a close to Matchday 3 in the group phase of the qualifiers for the next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and featured a shock home defeat for Nigeria, while fellow heavyweights Egypt, Senegal and Ivory Coast eased to important triumphs.
In the afternoon matches, DR Congo registered their first points in Group I with a 3-1 win over 10-man Mauritania in Douala, thanks to goals from Gael Kakuta, Cedric Bakambu and Arthur Masuaku, while the East African derby between Uganda and Tanzania ended 1-0 in favour of the latter. The Taifa Stars jumped up to second spot in Group F (which is dominated by Algeria) thanks to a goal midway through the second half from Simon Msuva.
In the early evening fixtures, the headline result came from Group A, where Guinea-Bissau stunned Nigeria 1-0 in Abuja – thanks to a first-half strike from Mama Balde – and displaced the Super Eagles at the top of the log.
Ivory Coast enjoyed a more straightforward 3-1 triumph over Comoros in Bouake (with goals from Cristian Kouame, Sebastien Haller and Jean-Philippe Krasso) to reclaim top spot in Group H, while Cape Verde and South Africa were held to home draws by Eswatini and Liberia respectively.
The Blue Sharks were frustrated 0-0 in Praia and missed out on a chance to firmly establish themselves in the top two of Group B alongside Burkina Faso, while Bafana Bafana blew a two-goal lead in their Group K clash: a first-half brace from Lyle Foster had the hosts in complete control in Soweto, but Liberia struck back via Tonia Tisdell and Mohammed Sangare to secure a valuable 2-2 draw.
In the night games, reigning AFCON champions Senegal moved to within touching distance of guaranteed qualification with a 5-1 destruction of Mozambique in Dakar, thanks to goals from Youssouf Sabaly, Sadio Mane, Iliman Ndiaye, Boulaye Dia and Habib Diallo.
Egypt claimed top spot in Group D with a 2-0 home win over Malawi in Cairo, courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah and Omar Marmoush, while Equatorial Guinea were too strong for 10-man Botswana in Malabo, as strikes from Saul Coco and Federico Bikoro secured a 2-0 victory – and top spot in Group J.
Burkina Faso beat Togo 1-0 in their Group B match in Marrakesh (the Stallions have three wins from three thanks to Abdoul Tapsoba’s late strike), while Mali proved too strong for Gambia in Bamako, claiming a third straight win in Group G as Kamory Doumbia and Adama Traore scored the goals in a 2-0 victory.
The late kick-offs on Friday see Namibia visit Cameroon; Tunisia and Libya meet for a North African derby; and Guinea play host to Ethiopia.
Matchday 4 of the AFCON qualifiers will start on Sunday 26 March with fixtures in which Lesotho and Sao Tome & Principe will play host to Zambia and Sierra Leone respectively.
Friday 24 March
DR Congo 3-1 Mauritania
Uganda 0-1 Tanzania
Cape Verde 0-0 Eswatini
Ivory Coast 3-1 Comoros
Nigeria 0-1 Guinea-Bissau
South Africa 2-2 Liberia
Egypt 2-0 Malawi
Equatorial Guinea 2-0 Botswana
Mali 2-0 Gambia
Senegal 5-1 Mozambique
Burkina Faso 1-0 Togo
-Cameroon v Namibia
-Tunisia v Libya
-Guinea v Ethiopia