2022 WCQ: Slimani breaks Algeria record as Egypt edge past Libya

Islam Slimani became Algeria’s all-time leading goalscorer as he scored twice in a 6-1 thrashing of Niger in 2022 World Cup qualifying.

Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez celebrated his nomination for the Ballon d’or as he scored with free-kick for the only goal of the first-half for the African Champions.

Niger did not help their own cause in the second half with two own goals either side of Mahrez’s second from the penalty spot.

Daniel Sosah, who plies his trade in Belarus, had briefly given Niger hope with a goal that had made it 2-1 for the 10 minutes before Mahrez’s spot-kick.

Lyon striker Slimani came on as a 67th-minute substitute and then scored twice to take his international tally to 38 and go clear of Abdelhafid Tasfaout on 36.

Burkina Faso kept pace with Algeria at the top of the group thanks to a 4-0 win over Djibouti in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

The game was moved from Djibouti as they are one of 11 African nations whose stadia do meet the requirements to host international games.

Abdoul Tapsoba scored for Burkina Faso moments before and after the break to set the Stallions on their way to three points. Issa Kabore and Russia-based Mohamed Konate added a goal each to ensure the win.

It means that both Algeria and Burkina Faso have seven points after three matches – but the Desert Foxes have a far superior goal difference of plus 13 compared to the Stallions on plus six. Niger have three points and Djibouti remain pointless.

Burkina Faso and Djibouti will face each other again in the same stadium on Monday, with the Burkinabe also not having a stadium fit to host internationals. Niger, whose national stadium has been improved sufficiently since September’s qualifiers, host Algeria on Tuesday.

Egypt moved back to the top of Group F thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over visiting neighbours Libya.

The Pharaohs had much of the possession in the first half but it was Libya who came the closest to scoring with a shot that hit the post.

The only goal of the game was a brilliant strike into the top corner from Stuttgart’s Omar Marmoush shortly after the break.

The other game in the group saw Angola beat Gabon 3-1 in a match that was delayed by more than 90 minutes because of an unspecified problem with pre-match Covid-19 testing procedures.

When the game in Luanda eventually started 19-year-old Primero de Agosto striker Zini gave the hosts the lead in the 25th minute with Egypt based Ary Papel adding the second after half-time.

Substitute Axel Meye, who plays his club football in Morocco, pulled back a goal for Gabon in the 83rd minute but former Belgium youth international Jonathan Buatu restored Angola’s two-goal lead in injury time.

The win came 16 years to the day since the Palancas Negras most famous victory – a 1-0 win over Rwanda in Kigali that saw them qualify for the first, and so far only, World Cup finals.

The results mean Egypt have seven points, one more than Libya, while Angola have three and Gabon are bottom with a single point. Both reverse fixtures are on Monday.

Earlier on Friday Cameroon and Ivory Coast both won as the two heavyweights continued their battle for the single play-off place from Group D of African qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored twice as Cameroon beat visitors Mozambique 3-1 at the Japoma stadium in Douala.

The 32-year-old continued his fine start to the season with a towering header to open the scoring and then benefitted from a fumble by the keeper to net again with his head seven minutes after the break.

Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi added the third with yet another header.

The visitors pulled one back in the 80th minute through Sporting Lisbon’s Geny Catamo but then saw Danilo Muze sent off for two bookable offences in less than three minutes.

In the other tie in Group D, Ivory Coast scored two late goals to secure a 3-0 win over ‘hosts’ Malawi in a match played in the South African city Johannesburg.

Malawi are another of the nations whose stadia do not meet requirements to host internationals, says African football’s ruling body Caf.

The Elephants took the lead seven minutes before half-time through 31-year-old Max Gradel.

The Turkey-based midfielder was set up by Serge Aurier in his first competitive game since June, with the 28-year-old recently joining Spanish side Villarreal after being released by Tottenham Hotspur in August.

Netherlands-based Ibrahim Sangare doubled the lead in the 85th minute before Sassuolo forward Jeremie Boga completed the win deep into stoppage time.

The Elephants and Malawi face each other again on Monday in Benin while Mozambique ‘host’ Cameroon in Morocco.

Ivory Coast, who are set to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2023, and Mozambique are among the nations forced to play at a neutral venue as their stadia are not up to international requirements.

The winners of Africa’s ten qualifying groups will contest next March’s play-offs to decide the continent’s five representatives at Qatar 2022.

Source: Modern Ghana



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