- Salah & Mane were among star names who scored
- The two forwards helped Egypt & Senegal to victories
- Haller and Shalulile also netted for Ivory Coast & Namibia
WHAT HAPPENED? Salah opened the scoring for Egypt as the Pharaohs returned to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over Malawi before he turned provider for Omar Marmoush to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.
It was the 50th international goal for Salah in what was his 88th cap as Egypt recovered from their 2-0 away loss to Ethiopia on matchday two last June.
Meanwhile, Mane made a triumphant return to the Senegal squad as he scored the second goal in their 5-1 win over Mozambique.
Mane made it 2-0 after Youssouf Sabaly had broken the deadlock for the Teranga Lions in the ninth minute, and Aliou Cisse’s men then took a 4-0 lead to the break when Iliman Ndiaye and Boulaye Dia added the other two.
Gildo Lourenco Vilanculos pulled on back for Mozambique before substitute Habib Diallo added the fifth for the African champions two minutes from time. Mane was making a return to the national team for the first time since pulling out of the 2022 World Cup following a knee injury.
Elsewhere, Sebastien Haller was among the scorers as 2023 Afcon hosts Ivory Coast beat Comoros 3-1, Cristian Kouame and Jean-Philippe Krasso scoring either side of the Borussia Dortmund forward’s goal while Ibroihim Youssouf netted the consolation for the Island nation.
In the late kickoff, Olivier Kemen’s header secured a point for Cameroon against Namibia after Peter Shalulile had broken the deadlock with a brilliant strike after 26 minutes.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Victory sees Egypt take command of Group D with six points from three matches, the same as Guinea, who beat Ethiopia 2-0 on Friday, while the East Africans and Malawi have three each.
Senegal, meanwhile, have 100 percent record in Group L, having amassed nine points from their three matches, five ahead of Mozambique, with Rwanda (two points) and Benin, on one point, further back.
The Ivorians, meanwhile, have already qualified by virtue of being hosts but still lead Group H with seven points, one more than Zambia, as Comoros (three points) and Lesotho, who have one point, play catch-up.
WHAT’S NEXT? The next round of qualifiers is scheduled between Sunday and Wednesday with Egypt playing away to Malawi on Tuesday while Mozambique host Senegal the same day.