DR Congo, Morocco ad­vance in World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

CAPE TOWN: Morocco and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo both ad­vanced to­wards an­other World Cup fi­nals ap­pear­ance on Sun­day but with­out much con­vic­tion as they booked places in the fi­nal phase of African qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the 2018 tour­na­ment in Rus­sia.

Morocco lost 1-0 away to Equa­to­rial Guinea in Bata but qual­i­fied 2-1 on ag­gre­gate af­ter win­ning the first leg on Thurs­day. This keeps them on course for a fifth World Cup fi­nals ap­pear­ance but their first since France in 1998. They are joined in the fi­nal group phase by Guinea, Uganda, Zam­bia and the Con­golese, who, as Zaire, played at the 1974 fi­nals in West Ger­many.

DR Congo qual­i­fied de­spite be­ing held 2-2 at home by tiny neigh­bours Bu­rundi in a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult on their re­turn to Kinshasa’s newly-re­fur­bished Mar­tyrs Sta­dium. Two late goals gave the Con­golese a 3-2 away win in Thurs­day’s first leg and they were ex­pect­ing an easy re­turn match, scor­ing first through French-born Jor­dan Nkololo. But striker Dieumerci Mbokani, back to help de­fend a cor­ner, skewed the ball into his own net for an equaliser that sud­denly of­fered Bu­rundi some hope. Yan­nick Bo­laise’s 77th minute penalty put the Con­golese back ahead but Bu­rundi en­sured an anx­ious fin­ish when they equalised near the end with a spot kick of their own, con­verted by Fis­ton Ab­dul Razak.

Seven­teen-year-old Farouk Miya net­ted two of Uganda’s three first-half goals in a 3-0 win in Kam­pala, en­sur­ing a 4-0 ag­gre­gate tri­umph, while Win­ston Kalengo’s 81st minute goal sealed Zam­bia’s 2-0 win over Su­dan in Ndola to ad­vance 3-0 over the two legs.

Guinea, forced to host their tie against Namibia in Morocco be­cause of the Ebola ban, were 2-0 vic­tors in Casablanca to also ad­vance in con­vinc­ing fash­ion. Gabon qual­i­fied on Satur­day with the re­main­ing 14 places to be de­cided on Tues­day at the con­clu­sion of the sec­ond round of knock­out matches. — Reuters

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