Afcon qual­i­fiers rain goals

The Star Early Edition - - SOCCER -

HEAVY­WEIGHTS Al­ge­ria and Ghana recorded vic­to­ries in their 2019 African Na­tions Cup qual­i­fiers but Egypt, run­ner­sup in Gabon ear­lier this year, were beaten 1-0 in Tu­nisia.

Ghana be­gan in em­phatic fash­ion with a 5-0 home vic­tory over Ethiopia in Group F.

Cap­tain Asamoah Gyan put them ahead af­ter 10 min­utes be­fore John Boye and Ebenezer Ofori made it 3-0 at half-time in Ku­masi. Debu­tant Raphael Dwa­mena then scored two more af­ter the break.

Al­ge­ria looked ten­ta­tive in their first com­pet­i­tive out­ing un­der new Span­ish coach Lucas Al­caraz but edged Togo 1-0 at home thanks to Sofi­ane Hanni, who lobbed home in the 24th minute af­ter be­ing set clear by Is­lam Sli­mani.

Also in Group D, Stephane Sesseg­non scored an early goal for Benin, who held on for a 1-0 win over the Gam­bia in Cotonou.

In Group J, Egypt went down 1-0 in Tu­nisia where Taha Yas­sine Khenissi scored just af­ter half-time of a match that kicked off at 11 P.M. be­cause of the Ra­madan fast.

Newly ap­pointed Zim­babwe cap­tain Knowl­edge Mu­sona grabbed a hat-trick as they beat Liberia 3-0 in front of a bois­ter­ous crowd in their Group G match in Harare where the at­ten­dance was swelled by a de­ci­sion to cut ticket prices to only $3.

God­frey Sserunk­uma scored seven min­utes from time to hand Uganda a 1-0 win away in the Cape Verde Is­lands in a Group L game post­poned by 24 hours when their sched­uled flight from Dakar was de­layed for eight hours by tech­ni­cal prob­lems.

The Cen­tral African Repub­lic led Rwanda 1-0 through Ju­nior Gour­rier’s goal just af­ter half-time and af­ter con­ced­ing the equaliser in added time grabbed the win­ner through Salif Keita just be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle in Group H.

Mada­gas­car got their cam­paign off to a bright start af­ter a sur­prise 3-1 win over Su­dan away in Obeid.

The vic­tory rep­re­sents one of the big­gest away wins by the Barea who are now joined top with Sene­gal in Group A af­ter the Li­ons of Teranga beat Equa­to­rial Guinea 3-0.

De­spite play­ing away from home, Mada­gas­car were not in­tim­i­dated by the packed crowd at the Obeid Sta­dium and took the lead af­ter 15 min­utes through An­dri­at­sima Fanev. They dou­bled their lead two min­utes past the hour mark from the spot cour­tesy of Caro­lus An­driamahitsi­noro.

On 73 min­utes, the Desert Hawks pulled one back through sub­sti­tute Atahir Mo­hamed.

As the Su­danese fought for the equaliser, the Barea added a third goal as Fanev com­pleted his brace.

The next round of qual­i­fiers for the fi­nals in Cameroon will be played in March. There are 12 groups from which the win­ner qual­i­fies along with the three best run­ners-up. – Reuters and ANA

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