North African sides Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia struck first blood, winning the first leg matches of their Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off qualification matches on Friday.
Algeria and Tunisia picked up vital 1-0 wins away from home against Cameroon and Mali, respectively, while Egypt’s Pharaohs clinched a similar result at home against African champions Senegal.
In the other two matches, DR Congo played to a 1-1 draw with Morocco while Nigeria and Ghana played to a barren stalemate in Kumasi.
Recap of CAFOnline summary of Friday’s matches.
Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
In Douala, Islam Silimani scored the lone goal as former African champions Algeria silenced Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions at the Japoma Stadium.
Slimani scored his eighth goal in World Cup qualification, thumping home a 40th-minute header from Youcef Bellaili’s delivery off a freekick.
Mali 0-1 Tunisia
In Bamako, defender Moussa Sissako was the unfortunate villain for the Malians as he scored an own goal and was sent off minutes later as the home side lost by a solitary goal to Tunisia.
Sissako scored a bizarre own goal in the 36th minute when his attempt to pass the ball back to his keeper was awry as the shot-stopper had moved off his line and the pass was a yard off his positioning.
DR Congo 1-1 Morocco
In Kinshasa, substitutes Ayoub El Kaabi and Tarik Tissoudali combined for the equalizer as Morocco scored with 14 minutes left to salvage a 1-1 draw with DR Congo.
Yoane Wissa gave his side the lead just 12 minutes into the match when his brilliant shot from distance took a wicked deflection off skipper Roman Saiss and into the net.
Egypt 1-0 Senegal
At the Cairo International Stadium, hosts Egypt laid revenge on Senegal, who beat them to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon last month, beating them by a solitary goal.
Saliou Ciss scored into his net just four minutes in as the Egyptians took a massive lead that they jealously guarded ahead of next week’s second leg.
Ghana 0 – 0 Nigeria
At a fully packed Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, hosts Ghana played to a barren draw with Nigeria in a highly publicized derby, leaving all to play for when the two sides clash in Abuja on Tuesday.
Both sides had chances to score, but none was lucky enough to find the back of the net.
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