Ivory Coast sneak into Africa Cup fi­nals

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TI­TLE-HOLD­ERS Ivory Coast cleared a header off their goal-line in stop­page time to hang on to a 1-1 draw with Sierra Leone on Satur­day to squeeze into the 2017 Africa Cup of Na­tions fi­nals.

Jonathan Kod­jia scored via a bi­cy­cle kick af­ter 35 min­utes for the Ivo­rians be­fore a sell-out 25,000 crowd in Bouake but Kei Ka­mara equalised on 67 min­utes with a glanc­ing header fol­low­ing a free-kick.

It was Ka­mara, back af­ter a self­im­posed one-year ex­ile hav­ing ac­cused Sierra Leone of­fi­cials of dis­re­spect­ing him, who al­most took his coun­try to the fi­nals af­ter a 20-year ab­sence.

Sierra Leone were awarded a cor­ner five min­utes into stop­page time but a far-post Ka­mara header was cleared off the line.

Ivory Coast qual­i­fied for a sev­enth­straight Cup of Na­tions by win­ning Group I with six points af­ter draw­ing twice against Sierra Leone and tak­ing four points off Su­dan.

Sierra Leone fin­ished with five points and Su­dan with four.

Al­ge­ria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bis­sau, Mali, Morocco, Sene­gal and Zim­babwe se­cured places ahead of the fi­nal round and hosts Gabon are au­to­matic par­tic­i­pants as hosts.

Another 14 matches were sched­uled yes­ter­day with the re­main­ing five places up for grabs.

Ethiopia fell be­hind against Sey­chelles in Hawassa be­fore goals from Ge­taneh Kebede and Sal­adin Said either side of half-time brought a 2-1 win and hope of qual­i­fi­ca­tion as one of the best two run­ners-up.

It was the sixth goal of the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for Kebede in Group J and moved him to the top of the scor­ers charts.

Fouad Al Triki scored a late goal as Libya shocked Cape Verde 1-0 in a Group F match in­ter­rupted when a dog wan­dered onto the pitch in Praia.

De­feat elim­i­nated Cape Verde, who were briefly ranked No 1 in Africa this year and had been seek­ing a third con­sec­u­tive Cup of Na­tions ap­pear­ance.

A bril­liant goal from Manch­ester City teenager Kelechi Iheana­cho on 78 min­utes earned al­ready-elim­i­nated Nige­ria a 1-0 Group G win over Tan­za­nia in Uyo.

The Su­per Ea­gles took a short cor­ner and the striker moved across the edge of the penalty area be­fore un­leash­ing a left-foot thun­der­bolt into the roof of the net.

Group H win­ners Ghana lacked nu­mer­ous first choices, in­clud­ing An­dre “Dede” Ayew and Asamoah Gyan, and were held 1-1 in Ac­cra by Rwanda.

Samuel Tet­tah put the Black Stars ahead mid­way through the open­ing half with a low shot and Muhad­jir Hak­iz­imana lev­elled off a free-kick seven min­utes from time.

Mozam­bique jumped from fourth to sec­ond in the same mini-league af­ter a last-gasp goal earned a 1-0 win over Mau­ri­tius in Ma­puto.

Cameroon cruised to a 2-0 vic­tory over bot­tom-of-the-ta­ble Group M team Gam­bia in Limbe.

Ben­jamin Moukandjo con­verted a first-half penalty for a foul on Karl Toko Ekambi, who scored the sec­ond goal soon af­ter half-time.

A dis­mal run by An­gola in Group B ex­tended to five matches with­out a win when they were held 1-1 by Mada­gas­car in Luanda.

Ba­pasy put the vis­i­tors ahead dur­ing the open­ing half with a glanc­ing header off a cor­ner and Gel­son lev­elled nine min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Sene­gal fin­ished with a per­fect Group K record thanks to a pre­dictable 2-0 win over Namibia in Dakar through goals from Balde Keita and Fa­mara Died­hiou. –

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