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WC Qualification Africa

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: No Zaha no problem for Ivory Coast against Mozambique

6:55 AM WAT 14/11/2021
Cote d'Ivoire
The Elephants proved too strong for the Mambas ahead of their blockbuster clash with Cameroon

Ivory Coast secured a convincing 3-0 win over Mozambique on Saturday night in the 2022 World Cup qualifier without one of their star attackers Wilfried Zaha.

Zaha missed the Group D encounter after the Crystal Palace winger asked to be excused as he is considering retiring from international football according to Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle.

The win saw Elephants move up to the top of the group standings - a point above second-placed Cameroon with the two teams set to meet in the final Group D game in Yaounde on Tuesday.

Cameroon's Indomitable Lions had hammered a hapless Malawi side 4-0 on Saturday afternoon with Christian Bassogog grabbing a brace in Soweto, South Africa.

The deadlock was opened by Max-Alain Gradel, who turned home a low cross from Maxwel Cornet to hand Ivory Coast a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.

The hosts were leading 1-0 at half-time and they doubled their lead through Cornet after the restart with the left-footed player having become a constant threat to the Mambas defence.

The Burnley FC attacker headed home a delightful cross from Gradel to make it 2-0 to Ivory Coast with the Mozambican defence caught the ball-watching.

The Elephants continued to launch attacks in the closing stages of the game with Beaumelle having introduced Yohan Boli, who made an immediate impact.

The Al Rayyan attacker grabbed an assist when his low cross found Jean Michael Seri, who beat his marker before scoring with a low shot to seal Ivory Coast's 3-0 win on the night.

Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea caused an upset when they defeated Tunisia 1-0 on Saturday evening with Pablo Ganet scoring the only goal of the game in Malabo.

Despite suffering their first defeat in Group B, Tunisia remained at the top of the standings - level on points with second-placed Guinea and three points ahead of second-placed Zambia.

Tunisia are set to host Zambia in Rades on Tuesday, while Guinea will be away to Mauritania on the same day.