Thursday Sep 02, 2021. 23:32
Islam Slimani’s four-goal haul was the show-stealing moment of Thursday’s 2022 World Cup Qualifiers across the African continent, while there were also key wins for Morocco, Burkina Faso and Benin.
Slimani struck four times in the opening 53 minutes of the reigning African champion’s Group A match against Djibouti, while Baghdad Bounedjah, Ramy Bensebaini, Riyad Mahrez and Ramiz Zerrouki were also on the score sheet to help the Fennec Foxes register a massive 8-0 victory over their 10-man opponents in Blida in a late kick-off.
The minnows were always on a hiding to nothing after the dismissal of Batio Youssouf midway through the first half.
Another night game saw Algeria’s fellow North African heavyweights Morocco move to the top of Group I with a 2-0 triumph over Sudan in Rabat, thanks to an early strike from Nayef Aguerd and an own goal from Abuaagla Abdalla.
The Atlas Lions made their statement win without star man Hakim Ziyech, who was dropped from the squad by coach Vahid Halihodzic for “unacceptable behaviour”.
The afternoon matches saw East African derby rivals Kenya and Uganda drawing 0-0 in Nairobi, to leave Group E topped by favourites Mali after their win on Wednesday, while DR Congo and Tanzania drew 1-1 in Lubumbashi in a Group J opener, with goals from Dieumerci Mbokani and Simon Msuva.
The other Group J game took place in the early evening slot, with Benin claiming an early lead on three points after they defeated hosts Madagascar 1-0 in Antananarivo thanks to Steve Mounie’s goal midway through the first half.
Elsewhere, Namibia – playing at the neutral Orlando Stadium in Soweto – were held 1-1 by Group H rivals Congo, as Charles Hambira’s opener was cancelled out in the second half by Guy Mbenza, while Burkina Faso got their Group A campaign off to a flyer with a 2-0 away win over Niger (at another neutral venue, Marrakesh) with strikes from Lassina Traore and Mohamed Konate.
Matchday 1 of the group stage in Africa’s WCQ tournament will wrap up with seven matches across the continent on Friday 3 September, featuring Zimbabwe hosting South Africa, Ivory Coast visiting Mozambique, Ghana at home to Ethiopia and Nigeria’s Super Eagles taking on Liberia.
African WCQ results, Thursday 2 September
Kenya 0-0 Uganda
DR Congo 1-1 Tanzania
Niger 0-2 Burkina Faso
Namibia 1-1 Congo
Madagascar 0-1 Benin
Algeria 8-0 Djibouti
Morocco 2-0 Sudan