AFCON 2012 Qualifying Round-Up: Libya Beat Zambia At Home, Central African Republic Surprise Algeria

With a number of interesting match ups taking place in Africa this weekend, takes a closer look at the AFCON Qualifying action...

Libya 1-0 Zambia

After holding Mozambique to a goalless draw in an away fixture in the first round, Libya were hoping to get their first win of the campaign at home in Tripoli. Zambia had three points in the bag before this game thanks to their win against the Comoros, and the impressive Zambians were looking to upset their north African hosts.

The Greens had other ideas however, and playing at home they had the confidence and the support to bring the game to Zambia. This is exactly what they did, and the pressure paid off with a goal from Ahmed Saad Osman in the first half.

The Zambian Chipolopolo tried to pull one back and equalise, but it was not to be their day, and they were forced to return home with a loss under their belt.

Libya will be pleased to have registered a win at home, and the Zambians will be looking forward to the next round of matches in March to forget this loss.

C.A.R 2–0 Algeria

Algeria were shockingly held to a 1-1 draw at home in the first round by Tanzania, and they came to Bangui to make up for that disappointment and get their qualification campaign back on track against the Central African Republic.

The home side began their qualifiers positively, taking a point off Morocco on the road, and their mission was to stifle another north African side, and they surprised all the pundits by putting the World Cup participants to the sword.

The Fennecs of Algeria could not find their way into the game, and it was the C.A.R who were able to get on the score sheet in the 84th minute. The blow was a fierce one for the Algerians, and as they lost concentration the home side doubled their lead two minutes later.

The race in Group D is now wide open, with Tanzania and Algeria on a single point, while C.A.R and Morocco lead the standings with four each. The Fennecs will return home disappointed, while C.A.R will have a new match for their history books.

Algeria Lost In C.A.R

Congo 3–1 Swaziland

Both of these teams lost their first round matches, so the pressure on this match was intense for both nations, desperate to make their mark and inch closer to qualification in a Group where Ghana is likely to come out on top.

The match at the Stade de la Révolution in Brazzaville started at a slow pace, with both sides having a handful of opportunities in the first half, but the encounter came alive after 42 minutes, with three goals scored in the last few minutes before the half time whistle was blown.

Congo took the lead on 42 minutes, before Swaziland equalised two minutes later. That stalemate held for only a minute though as Congo regained the lead seconds before the break. The second half saw fewer opportunities to score, but Congo went further ahead in the 73rd minute, making it 3-1 to the home side, which is how it ended.

The win for Congo is a devastating blow for Swaziland, as the AFCON 2012 stage drifts further away from the southern Africans, while Congo take a big step closer.

Madagascar 0–1 Ethiopia

Madagascar, who lost to Nigeria 2-0 in the first round, were hoping that home advantage would allow them to register a positive result against Ethiopia, but the early signs showed that Ethiopia was the better side, though the hosts had a few opportunities.

In the previous qualifier Ethiopia were thrashed 4-1 by Guinea in Addis Ababa, but they were determined to win this away game to save their qualification campaign, and they would have to wait for almost the entire length of the game before they found that elusive goal.

The Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo went silent in the 77th minute of the match, as Ethiopia scored to make it 1-0, which is how the encounter ended in Madagascar. The Islanders have no points to their name, while Ethiopia are back in the race after clenching three valuable points.

Zimbabwe 0–0 Cape Verde

The Warriors of Zimbabwe went into this match knowing that they needed to step things up if they were going to stand a chance to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup.  After last night saw Mali take three points against Liberia, Zimbabwe needed a win to stay with the breakaway pack at the front of Group A.

Things began well for the home side at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, and they were on top of the play from the beginning with the home crowd willing them on. Despite the dominant possession, they could not find a goal and when the half time whistle blew it was still 0-0.

Cape Verde have long been deemed the minnows of Group A, but the Islanders held on during the second half and managed to come away from southern Africa with a well earned point, after it ended goalless.

Many young players showcased their talent on the day, and it seems that the Warriors have a bright future ahead of them, but as far as the 2012 AFCON competition is concerned, things are looking tough for Zimbabwe with only two points from two games, while Cape Verde find themselves on four points.


Mali 2–1 Liberia

After a slow start in Group A, both of these sides were desperate to get three points and make their intentions known. Mali lost their first encounter to Cape Verde, while Liberia drew with Zimbabwe.

The Malians have taken measures to attract the crowds to Bamako for this game, and the home advantage angle worked to stunning effect as Mali took the lead through Nice midfielder Abdou Traore in the second minute of the game.

Off to a fine start, the fans got right behind their team, but the score would soon change as Liberia equalised on the stroke of halftime to make it 1-1 thanks to Theo Weeks, sending both teams in for the break and wondering what the next 45 minutes would produce.

The second half saw the home supporters become louder in the hope that they could influence the play, and one way or another they did, with Mali finding the winning goal in the 52nd minute thanks to Traore, scoring his second of the night.

The result means that Liberia has only one point, while Mali can be pleased with their first win of the qualifying campaign, giving them three points thus far.

Mali Gave Their Home Fans A Win

Senegal 7-0 Mauritius

After thrashing DRC, Senegal have added more weight to the argument that they are in the midst of successfully reviving their football with a local coach at the helm. Mamadou Niang said before the game that he wanted this match to serve as a moment of celebration and bonding with the Dakar fans who had been forced to endure some very unsettling performances by the Teranga Lions over the last couple of years.

The Turkey based hitman’s wishes came to fruition with Senegal rattling off four first half goals. Niang didn’t have to do all the scoring himself in this one though as Papass Cisse had a brace, including the opener. As he almost always does, Niang did get on the score sheet and Moussa Sow added another for good measure.

Marseille’s former superstar then added his second of the day in the 62nd minute. Not to be outdone, Cisse got his hat trick before the final whistle and Namibia made it even worse by letting in an own goal too. That completed a memorable rout and important three points for the Senegalese in light of Cameroon’s current troubles. It’s safe to say that Senegal means business this time around and the Indomitable Lions must take notice before the two face each other in March for what will surely be a massive encounter for both teams.

Mamadou Niang Scored A Brace For Senegal

Burkina Faso 3-1 Gambia

In a group reduced to only three teams after the withdrawal of Mauritania before qualifying began, Burkina Faso entered their match knowing that it would be incredibly important for them to beat the Scorpions who had notched a 3-1 win over Namibia last month.

The Stallions took the field in Ouagadougou determined not to let their much improved regional rivals widen the gap between them to six and their hard work paid off as they managed to win 3-1 in Ouagadougou to the delight of their home fans. They did have to overcome late score though as they took their foot of the gas pedal too early and conceded to make it 2-1 with only a few minutes remaining. Thankfully for them, they had the resources to get another insurance goal shortly thereafter to avoid what would have been a disastrous turn of events.

Paulo Duarte’s team are now in a good position for one they will take on Namibia in March when they can take sole leadership of Group F should they get maximum points.

Comoros 0-1 Mozambique

After a dreadful set of games for both these sides in the last round of qualifying, a win would have meant a great deal in terms of their quest for qualification. Home advantage stood the Comoros in good stead until half time, where they were able to hold a skillful Mozambique side to a goalless stalemate.

The visitors were much better than their rivals on paper however, and their technical superiority materialized in the form of a late goal in the 91st minute from midfielder Josemar Machaisse, following a great deal of pressure on the home side.

The result in Mitsamiouli leaves the Comoros sinking in Group C after a second loss, while the Mambas will be pleased to have made up for their draw with Libya at home in the last round. The group remains open for the southern Africans, and much will depend on the match between Zambia and Libya tomorrow.

Mozambique Are Back On Track

Rwanda 0-3 Benin

The battle of Kigali between hosts Rwanda and Benin produced an opportunity for the home side to make up for their 3-0 loss to Ivory Coast in the first round of matches. Both teams knew that it would be an uphill battle to top Group H, with Ivory Coast as favourites, so a win in this encounter was crucial.

Despite having home field advantage, it was the determined Squirrels who notched the victory to make up for beginning their qualifying with a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Burundi. The West African nation’s three goals came through Razak Omotoyossi, Stephane Sessegnon, and Saidath Tchomogo and they are now in second place with four points, two behind group leaders Cote d’Ivoire. Their next game, a showdown with the group leaders could prove decisive for them.

Angola 1-0 Guinea-Bissau

After their shock 3-0 loss at the hands of Uganda on the first day of qualifying, the Palancas Negras desperately needed a win and got one in Luanda against Guinea-Bissau thanks to a Gilberto penalty kick which was earned when Manucho was brought down in the box by the opposing goalkeeper.

The home team could’ve added a few more through the former Manchester United signee and Osodio as well but the score remained 1-0 despite the opportunities that came their way. While more goals would have been welcome, the Angolans won’t be complaining too much as they’ve done what was essential and have gotten their qualification campaign back on track.

Despite the loss, Guinea-Bissau are still doing reasonably well thanks to the surprising three points they gathered against Kenya in their opener.

Travelling Morocco Fans Made A Worthwhile Trip

Tanzania 0-1 Morocco

The Taifa Stars welcomed Morocco in confident mood following their 1-1 draw with Algeria, and they were hoping to give their home fans something to cheer about in Dar Es Salaam, but they struggled to create any real chances to score.

The Atlas Lions found the opening goal in the 43rd minute thanks to in-form striker Mounir El Hamdaoui whose left foot volley from a Marouane Chamakh pass beat the Tanzanian 'keeper. The teams adjourned for the half time break with the game in favour of the visitors. Tanzania had the bulk of the possession, but they struggled to do anything with it in the final third of the pitch, as the Moroccan defence stood strong.

The Atlas Lions soaked up the pressure and refused to concede a goal, and it ended 1-0 for the visitors. After a better performance away to Algeria in the previous match Tanzania will be disappointed with the result, while Morocco return to north Africa with all three points.

Malawi 6-2 Chad

In a lively game played in Blantyre, Malawi the Flames got off to a positive start with a goal in the 10th minute of the match. The Kamuzu Stadium came alive once again when Malawi scored their second ten minutes later. The home side seemed to be running away with it, but Chad pulled one back on the half hour mark.

With the half time score reading 2-1 in favour of the hosts, it seemed Chad would have a mountain to climb in the second 45 minutes, and Malawi made sure of that with a third goal in the 67th minute, but it was not yet over.

The home side then took full advantage of a crumbling Sao outfit, scoring three more goals in the 70th, 80th and 85th minutes to end the game with a flurry of celebrations, interrupted only once for a 90th minute Chad consolation strike.

After the 2-2 draw with Tunisia in the last round of matches, Malawi impress with another win, this time defeating Chad 6-2. Esau Kanyenda and Chiukepo Msowoya each scored two and Jimmy Zakazaka and Robert Ng'ambi rounded out the scoring for the Flames. The Sao's consolation goals came through Ezechiel Ndoua and Marius Mbiani.

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