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Egypt progress in African World Cup qualifying as Algeria edge closer

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Egypt had to come from two goals down to earn the 2-2 draw in Angola that sees them progress to the African World Cup play-offs as Group F winners.

Earlier on Friday Algeria moved a step closer to qualifying for the final round of qualifying after a comfortable 4-0 win over Djibouti.

The Desert Foxes, who extended their unbeaten run to 32 games, have a two-point lead over Burkina Faso in Group A after the West Africans drew 1-1 with Niger.

Algeria know a point will be enough to wrap up top spot when they host the Burkinabe on Tuesday.

However, the Stallions can leapfrog the Africa Cup of Nations holders and qualify themselves if they can pull off an upset and win in Blida.

Mali, Morocco and Senegal have already qualified for the play-offs next March, which will decide which five nations represent Africa in Qatar.

  • Tawfik from villain to hero

Egypt began their game against Angola in Luanda knowing a draw would be enough for them to progress after Gabon’s earlier 1-0 win over visiting Libya.

The Pharaohs’ quest was put under pressure on 26 minutes as Valencia’s Helder Costa gave the hosts the lead on his debut, having swapped allegiances from Portugal after playing a friendly for them in 2018.

Costa fired home from the edge of the area when a clearance by the Egyptian defence fell to him.

The 27-year-old, who is on loan in Spain from English Premier League side Leeds United, was born in Luanda but then went onto play for Portugal at every level from under-16 through to the senior side.

The pressure on Egypt increased 10 minutes later when Italy-based M’Bala Nzola doubled the lead for the Palancas Negras from the penalty spot awarded after Zini was fouled in the area by Akram Tawfik.

The Pharaohs got back into the game in added time at the end of the first half when Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny connected with a cross from Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Egypt drew level in the 59th minute when Tawfik made amends for giving away the penalty by scoring with a deflected shot, with Salah once again providing the final pass.

The result meant that Gabon’s earlier 1-0 win over Libya thanks to a penalty from Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 54th minute counted for nothing.

The results mean Egypt win Group F even before the visit of second-placed Gabon on Tuesday.

  • Benrahma nets as Algeria turn on style

Algeria named Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani among the substitutes for their match against Djibouti in Cairo but were firmly in control of the contest by half-time.

Youcef Belaili missed a first-half penalty, seeing his low effort saved, but immediately redeemed himself to put the north Africans ahead just before the half-hour mark.

Belaili collected a flick-on from Baghdad Bounedjah and advanced into the box before cutting inside and netting a right-footed shot.

West Ham forward Said Benrahma doubled the lead with a shot from just outside the box – his first international goal – and captain Sofiane Feghouli quickly added a third with an effort which Djibouti keeper Innocent Mboni Hankuye spilled.

Mahrez and Slimani came off the bench at half-time and the Lyon striker added a late fourth to put the gloss on Algeria’s victory.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso paid the price after losing home advantage for their tie against Niger, with their stadium deemed unfit to host qualifiers.

Forced to play in Marrakech instead, Youssef Oumarou put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot 11 minutes before the break after Daniel Sosah was fouled.

Burkina Faso captain Issoufou Dayo equalised through a penalty 10 minutes after the restart. Zakaria Sanogo and Dayo both went close to a winner but the Stallions had to settle for a 1-1 draw instead.

Friday’s games in Group I counted nothing after Morocco secured top spot last month with two games to spare.

In Conakry Guinea were held to a goalless draw by Guinea-Bissau while later Morocco beat Sudan 3-0 in a game played in Rabat, with Sudanese stadia not suitable for international football.

Hungary-based Ryan Mmaee scored a brace, with the first coming after just three minutes and the second an hour later, Watford’s Imran Louza completed the win in injury time.

Source: BBC Africa

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