Sunday Sep 10, 2023. 23:19
Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification action was headlined by Gambia securing a ticket to next year’s tournament, while Nigeria and Togo recorded home victories in dead-rubber matches.
The night match in Marrakesh saw Gambia and Congo play to a 2-2 draw, allowing the Scorpions to finish second in Group G behind Mali and secure a second successive AFCON appearance.
Yet it was a fraught match for the ‘hosts’ in Morocco, as they were 2-0 down at half time (and headed for elimination on a head-to-head tie-breaker) thanks goals from Congo’s Gaius Makouta and Silvere Ganvoula, and needed late strikes from Yankuba Minteh and Mohamed Badamosi to salvage a share of the spoils.
The early-evening games saw Nigeria rack up a 6-0 destruction of Sao Tome & Principe, while Togo secured a 3-2 triumph over Cape Verde.
In a Group A clash in Uyo, Victor Osimhem ran riot and scored a hat-trick (bringing his tally of qualification goals to a tournament-leading 10) as the Super Eagles brushed aside Sao Tome. Ademola Lookman, Taiwo Awoniyi and Samuel Chukwueze were also on the score sheet as the heavyweight West Africans closed out their campaign with a table-topping 15 points.
In a Group B match in Lome, Togo salvaged some pride from their unsuccessful campaign with an entertaining triumph over qualifiers Cape Verde.
The Blue Sharks were 2-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes thanks to Kevin Pina and Gilson Benchimal, but the Sparrow Hawks surged back to claim victory via a brace from Kevin Denkey and Abdou Ouattara – the latter struck the decisive goal on 87 minutes.
The AFCON qualifiers will continue with one match on Monday 11 September, as Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone meet in a Group A match.
AFCON qualifiers results, Sunday 10 September
Nigeria 6-0 Sao Tome & Principe
Togo 3-2 Cape Verde
Gambia 2-2 Congo