AFCON 2012 Qualifying Round Up: Mamadou Niang Hat-Trick Gives Senegal Victory Over DR Congo rounds up the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying action as they are played out...

DR Congo 2–4 Senegal

The result of this match was always likely to be important in Group E, considering the fact that super weights Cameroon, who beat minnows Mauritius yesterday, seem set to take first spot, and the winner of this encounter would have the best chance of keeping the Indomitable Lions from the group summit.

The Kenya Stadium in Lubumbashi was a noisy place, and Senegal took the initiative in the first half, with the score stuck at 3-0 after 19 minutes thanks to a Samba Almany Sow strike in the 5th minute, before a brace from Mamadou Niang seemingly put things beyond the Congolese.

Congo was not yet out of it however, and on 45 minutes Anawina Kabangu scored a goal to give them some hope. Niang would have none of it however, and on 68 minutes he slotted home a penalty to make it it 4-1 in favour of Senegal and giving the talisman his hat-trick, leaving Kabangu to bag a brace with a late strike in the 85th minute, 4-2 for Senegal.

Niang stood out this weekend with his hat-trick, but look out for the African Team Of The Week to be published on Tuesday for other stars who shined for their respective nations in this weekend of African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Mamadou Niang Was On Fire For Senegal

Benin 1–1 Burundi

The teams from Group H locked horns in Benin’s capital Cotonou, knowing that they had a number of tough encounter’s ahead, with Rwanda and the star studded Cote D’Ivoire filling out the other two spots in the group.

Burundi have never qualified for the AFCON finals, but they took an impressive first step towards qualification with a 1-1 draw away to Benin, who will be unhappy with only a single point at home.

Zambia 4–0 Comoros

Ahead of the match, very few people gave the Coelecantes of Comoros are much chance against the Chipolopolo of Zambia. The majority of people were correct, and by half time Zambia had a comfortable 3-0 lead over their Group C opponents.

Rainford Kalaba opened the scoring for Chipolopolo, with Tembo Fwayo and James Chamanga scoring in the 30th and 40th minutes respectively to round out a solid victory over the Comoros. The second half was a quieter affair, with a late strike from Emmanuel Mayuk making it 4-0 to Zambia in the 85th minute.

Zambia have a strong tradition and reputation in African football, having appeared 14 times in the finals of the African Nations Cup, becoming runners-up twice in 1974 and 1994. They will be aiming to qualify for the 2012 edition, and this match against the minnows of the Comoros was certainly a good start for the southern Africans.

Mozambique Could Not Find A Goal

Mozambique 0–0 Libya

The Mambas of Mozambique seemed to outweigh their opponents on paper, but at the half time stage the sides were equal with a goalless draw frustrating the home support.

The Greens played with heart, and they made it difficult for Mozambique to find space and convert opportunities. After 90 minutes the game ended, with neither side able to capitalise on their chances. A point a piece leaves Libya the more satisfied of the two nations, as they are able to take something home from the encounter.

Both teams continue on their quest to top Group C, and their games against Zambia will be key in this regard, while both nations seem likely to take all three points in future matches against the other rival, the Comoros.

Ethiopia 1-4 Guinea

Ethiopia won the African Nations Cup back in 1962, but since then the quality of the side has suffered, and their last qualification came in 1982. The Syli National of Guinea began brightly, but neither side could break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes, and 0-0 was the half time score in Addis Ababa.

The second half produced a different result however, with the Walya Antelopes keen to make use of home advantage, while Guinea played as if they had nothing to lose, and their tactics allowed them to bulldoze over the home side with a sterling second half display. The final score saw Guinea win 4-1, and take all three points home, while Ethiopia will be disappointed with their terrible start to the qualifying.

Morocco Were Held By C.A.R

Morocco 0-0 Central African Republic

The Atlas Lions lacked a creative spark in their match against the Fawns and were held to a goalles home draw by their visitors who benifitted from some impeccable goalkeeping. Dominique Cuperly's team created few opportunities but wasted the best chance of the game through Youssef El Arabi who hit the opposing keeper with a close range volley. Dom Bil's combative side could have even come out with a win if they had been more clinical but he won't be complaining about collecting a valuable point in Rabat.

Sudan 2-0 Congo

The Red Devils of Congo have not qualified for the AFCON finals since 2000. Efforts have been stepped up by the Central African country’s officials to make sure the team perched at the Gabon / Equatorial 2012. But they kicked-off meanly tonight, falling for Sudan 2-0. Mudather Eltaib Careca gave the hosts an early lead in the 9th minute before Mohamed Tahir could seal victory for the Falcons of Jediane via a penalty he successfully transformed in the 90th minute. In a group which includes last AFCON edition finalists Ghana, any vanquished side may have early regrets.

Gambia 3-1 Namibia

The Scorpions of Gambia took a large advantage in Group F, now reduced to three teams – Burkina Faso, Gambia and Namibia - after the withdrawal of Mauritania, by beating the Brave Warriors of Namibia 3-1 on Saturday 4 September. Sainey Nyassi opened the scoring in the 5th minute, with Momodou Ceesay doubling for the home side six minutes later while Ousman Jallow pegged it at three in the 21st minute. Seconds before final whistle, the embattled visitors were given some relief with a goal from Wilko Risser. Gambia will meet Burkina Faso in October.


Mali Were Stunned By Cape Verde

Cape Verde 1-0 Mali

Mali’s Coach Alain Giresse, handicapped by the absence of his team’s veterans, left for Praia with a youthful squad but with much confidence of obtaining an away win against one of the weakest teams in the sub-region. But Cape Verde, rich with young and combative talents, denied the Eagles from going home with any points. The Blue Sharks won 1-0, leaving Giresse and his team in a difficult position in Group A containing two other volatile sides, Liberia and Zimbabwe.

Botswana 2-1 Togo

The Zebras of Botswana added another notch to their AFCON belt with a 2-1 victory over the favoured Togolese at the Botswana National Stadium in Gabarone on Saturday afternoon. The home side started off well, with an early goal in the 8th minute courtesy of Joel Mogorosi.

Togo came back into the game after the half time break, with a goal from Floyd Ama Ayite giving the understaffed visitors some hope. But Botswana gave their fans a reason to cheer again just five minutes later when Jerome Ramatlhakwane scored the winner to secure their third win of the qualifiers and three golden points.

Group K also includes Malawi, Chad and Tunisia, and is likely to go the distance, with Tunisia determined to cancel out a fine start from Botswana.

Togo Fell To Botswana

Uganda 3-0 Angola

The Uganda Cranes got off to a flying start in their 2012 qualifying campaign for the African Nations Cup after a resounding 3-0 victory over visitors Angola in Kampala, a place where they have traditionally been very difficult to beat. Angola struggled to get into the match, and it was the hosts who eased into the lead thanks to a goal from David Obua in the 35th minute.

The half-time score was 1-0, but Uganda would produce another fine showing in the second period, despite the state of the pitch not exactly at the greatest of standards.

The second goal came in the 77th minute, but Angola began to find space upfront in the dying minutes of the game with a few good chances. However, the Cranes capped off a stunning afternoon display with a third from Sserunkuma on 90 minutes after a great cross from the right found the striker's head, and he placed the ball in the back of the net.

Great start for Uganda, but a disappointing performance from Angola.

The Indomitable Lions Are Off And Running

Mauritius 1-3 Cameroon

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon dwarfed The Dodos of Mauritius 3-1 at the Belle-Vue Stadium in Port Louis on Saturday, with a brace from captain Samuel Eto’o.

The Inter striker opened the scoring in the 55th minute into the second-half but it was cancelled out ten minutes later by a penalty converted by Jonathan Bru. Eto’o put Cameroon into the lead again 15 minutes from normal time and then Eric Choupo-Moting successfully converted an 88th minute penalty to seal victory for the Lions.

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