Afcon Qualifiers: Big guns impress

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Home ground advantage is certainly not a thing of the past.

It was a productive outing for home teams in Thursday’s action of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers as nine of the 10 matches on the day went in favour of the hosts.

Reigning African champions Algeria stretched their unbeaten run to 21 matches after beating Zimbabwe 3-1 in Algiers, courtesy of goals from Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli and skipper Riyad Mahrez.

Tino Kadewere pulled one back for the Warriors.

The victory sees the Desert Foxes move five points clear atop Group H as they put their journey to Cameroon for a title retention plot intact. Zimbabwe remain second with four points.

Côte d’Ivoire bounced back to winning ways after a narrow 2-1 win over Madagascar in Abidjan. It was the nation’s second Group K victory in the qualifiers as they moved six points and joint top.

On his debut, Sebastian Haller came off the bench to score the second goal for the Ivoirians after veteran forward Gervinho had broken the deadlock for the 2015 champions as they got their qualifying campaign back on track.

Andre Ayew marked his 91st match in Ghanaian colours in fine fashion as he netted a brace to lead the Black Stars to a 2-0 win over Sudan at the Cape Coast Stadium as they retained their 100% form in the qualifiers.

Ayew is now level with his legendary father Abedi Pele for the number of goals scored for the Black Stars (19). His younger brother Jordan is on 17.

The win sees Ghana move to nine points from the opening three games as they also kept their third successive clean sheet.

In Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso stretched their lead on top of Group B after beating Malawi 3-1. Lasina Traore carried his impressive club form to the national team, scoring a brace with Bryan Dabo adding the third.

The Stallions are now level on points with Uganda who edged past South Sudan 1-0 in Kampala earlier in the day.

Uganda left it late to beat a resilient South Sudan side by a solitary goal to move to seven points after three matches. The Cranes also kept their third clean sheet in a row. Halid Lwaliwa scored the winner with five minutes left on the clock.

Meanwhile, Gabon walked away with a 2-1 win over Gambia in Franceville to move top of Group D with seven points. Denis Bouanga scored the opener with captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scoring the second after the break.

Cameroon picked up their second Group F victory as they thrashed Mozambique 4-1 at the Douala reunification stadium to move top of the pile.

Vincent Abubakar scored twice with Frank Zambo-Anguissa and Clinton Njie adding one each. The Indomitable Lions have already qualified for the 2022 showpiece by virtue of being hosts.

While in Lusaka, Zambia registered their first win in three games of the qualifiers in Group H, coming from behind to defeat Botswana 2-1 at the National Heroes Stadium.

Chipolopolo found themselves behind before the half time break but managed to find an equaliser, before Collins Sikombe snatched the winner 23 minutes from time, as Zambia rebounded from two previous defeats last November.

In Brazzaville, Congo beat Eswatini 2-0 at Stade Alphonse Massamba-Debat to move to six points in Group I tally to six points, three shy of leaders Senegal. The only draw of the day came in Praia where Rwanda held Cape Verde to a 0-0 stalemate.

RELATED STORY: Senegal and Guinea claim crucial Afcon qualifiers wins

By FARPost Reporter

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