world : Nigeria suffer setback while Ayew hits hat-trick for Ghana

Wednesday 12 June 2024 11:47 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Super Eagles have wings clipped

Nigeria had drawn their first three games in Group C, which has already provided several surprise results and left minnows Lesotho top after three games.

Raphael Onyedika’s composed 27th-minute strike put the Super Eagles ahead in their away game against Benin in neutral Ivory Coast, but the three-time continental champions were behind before the break.

First Jodel Dossou caught Calvin Bassey napping and curled across goal to equalise, and then ex-Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie smashed in at the back post after Nigeria failed to deal with a corner from the right.

Nigeria's best chance to level came when an unmarked Ademola Lookman headed wide, with striker Paul Onuachu arguably better placed to meet the cross.

Rohr, who had been discarded by Nigeria before the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, was carried on to the pitch by substitutes as Benin celebrated just their second-ever win over their West African neighbours.

Benin climb to the top of Group C on seven points while Nigeria are fifth, increasing the pressure on Finidi George – who was only appointed by the Super Eagles on a permanent deal in April.

In-form Ayew inspires Black Stars

Ghana made a good start in Kumasi after Abdul Fatawu was brought down in the box, but two smart finishes on the counter-attack from Mafouta gave Central African Republic a surprise lead.

Three goals in the space of 10 second-half minutes turned the game in Ghana’s favour, with Ayew nodding in Gideon Mensah’s cross to make it 2-2 on the hour mark.

Two minutes later Ghana were back in front when a shot from Leicester forward Fatawu was deflected in, and Ayew pounced to make it 4-2 from close range after Mohammed Kudus had a low effort saved.

That goal – Ayew’s eighth in his past five outings for Ghana – proved pivotal as Mafouta curled in a 25-yard free-kick in the final minute.

Ayew had also netted an injury-time winner for Otto Addo’s men in Mali on Thursday and the Black Stars now sit three points clear of Madagascar and Comoros in Group I.

Pharaohs stay unbeaten as Salah strikes

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,

Mohamed Salah is the joint-top scorer in African qualifying for the 2026 World Cup on five goals, alongside Egypt team-mate Trezeguet

Guinea-Bissau threatened an upset against Egypt after Mama Balde’s low strike gave the West Africans a surprise lead just before the break.

Emam Ashour and Salah went close for the Pharaohs before the Liverpool forward’s strike took a deflection into the top left corner with 20 minutes remaining.

Salah had a chance to win it for the North Africans in stoppage time but his effort was smothered by Djurtus goalkeeper Manuel Balde.

Egypt, on 10 points, have a four-point advantage in Group A over second-placed Guinea-Bissau, who have drawn their first two matches under former Fulham assistant coach Luis Boa Morte.

Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone are both a point further behind after the Leone Stars fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away against the Stallions in neutral Mali.

Algeria avoid upset in Kampala

Uganda also took the lead against higher-ranked opponents thanks to a fine low long-range strike from Travis Mutyaba, but Algeria were a side transformed after the break.

Houssem Aouar smashed in within 50 seconds of the restart and Said Benrahma made it 2-1 just before the hour mark when he rounded off a swift counter attack.

Algeria had suffered a shock home defeat against Guinea on Thursday, but stay top of Group G on goal difference after Geny Catamo’s 93rd minute penalty gave Mozambique a 1-0 win over the Guineans.

Mozambique join Algeria on nine points, with Botswana beating Somalia 3-1 to move on to six points alongside Guinea and Uganda.

Elsewhere, Iban Salvador gave Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 win against Malawi which moved the Central Africans on to three points in Group H, pending a potential appeal to Fifa.

The Equatoguineans won their first two qualifiers but were then sanctioned with 3-0 defeats after the world governing body ruled that striker Emilio Nsue was ineligible.

Monday's African World Cup qualifying results
  • Burkina Faso 2-2 Sierra Leone (Group A)

  • Guinea-Bissau 1-1 Egypt (Group A)

  • Benin 2-1 Nigeria (Group C)

  • Guinea 0-1 Mozambique (Group G)

  • Somalia 1-3 Botswana (Group G)

  • Uganda 1-2 Algeria (Group G)

  • Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Malawi (Group H)

  • Ghana 4-3 Central African Republic (Group I)

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