Gambia earn shock win in Angola in 2021 Afcon qualifiers

The Gambia's Assan Ceesay
Assan Ceesay, who plays for Swiss club FC Zurich, scored twice in The Gambia's historic win

The Gambia earned a shock 3-1 win over Angola in their Group D Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

There were also wins for Nigeria, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Sudan, Senegal and Malawi in their opening group games.

The hosts for 2021, Cameroon, were held to a goalless draw by visiting Cape Verde and that was the same score between Burkina Faso and Uganda.

While Lesotho scored a controversial late goal to grab a 1-1 draw in Sierra Leone.

The Gambia came from behind to beat Group D rivals Angola and win their first ever away tie in World Cup or Nations Cup qualifying.

SC Braga's Wilson Eduardo put the Angolans ahead in the third minute before Switzerland-based Assan Ceesay netted twice within 60 seconds midway through the opening half to turn the tide.

Another Europe-based professional, Sulayman Marreh, got a third goal one minute from time as the Gambia avenged home and away 2022 World Cup qualifying losses to Angola two months ago.

The biggest win of the was Sudan's 4-0 win over Group C outsiders Sao Tome e Principe 4-0 in Khartoum, where the losers were reduced to 10 men by a 22nd-minute red card.

Ramadan Agab, Ahmed Hamed Eltetsh scored either side of goalkeeper Aldair D'Almeida's dismissal in the first-half.

Things did not improve for Sao Tome after the break as Greece-based Jordao Diogo scored an own goal before Mohamed El-Rasheed completed the Sudanese victory.

Malawi's Gabadinho Mhango
Malawi's Gabadinho Mhango plays his club football in South Africa for Orlando Pirates

Malawi's winner in their Group B match came from Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango in the 67th minute as they beat South Sudan 1-0.

Mhango picked up a pass from Gerald Phiri Jr before beating two defenders inside the area and then firing in a fierce shot that South Sudan keeper Majak Mawith was unable to hold as the ball spilled into the net.

It was however a difficult game for Malawi as they struggled to find any fluidity early on, while South Sudan will draw some positives from the match as they twice were denied by the woodwork.

The other match in Group B ended goalless in Ouagadougou between Burkina Faso and Uganda, who are aiming for a third straight appearance at the Nations Cup finals.

Senegal began their Group I campaign with goals in quick succession to seal a 2-0 win in Thies over Congo Brazzaville.

France-based duo of Sidy Sarr, who is with Nimes, and then Metz's Habib Diallo were on target in the 26th and 28th minutes respectively.

The other game in the group saw Guinea-Bissau begin their quest for a third straight appearance at the Nations Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over visiting Eswatini.

Jorginho and Piqueti both scored just before half-time and then Joao Mario sealed the win in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria had to come from behind in Uyo to edge past neighbours Benin 2-1 in Group L.

Veteran forward Stephane Sessegnon scored the opener for the Squirrels after just three minutes as he took advantage of some poor defending to put the ball past Nigeria keeper Daniel Akpeyi.

The Super Eagles then came close on 40 minutes as Villareal's Samuel Chukwueze hit the woodwork.

Nigeria drew level in injury time at the end of the first half when Victor Osimhen scored from the penalty spot to continue the form he has been enjoying at French side Lille, where he has scored nine goals this season.

The referee awarded the spot kick after a foul on Torino's former Chelsea player Ola Aina.

Bordeaux's Samuel Kalu sealed the win just past the hour mark as he dribbled into the area to score from close range.

In the other Group L game Sierra Leone and Lesotho drew 1-1 as both sides finished with 10 men.

Iceland-based Kwame Quee scored for Sierra Leone in an empty stadium in the 69th minute to give the hosts the lead.

Sierra Leone's Siaka Stevens stadium
Sierra Leone had to play Lesotho behind closed doors after crowd incidents at a previous international game

Then in the 83rd minute Lesotho captain Marepe Basia was dismissed for a second yellow card for foul play and then George Kweku Davies was shown a straight red for his retaliation.

The visitors then grabbed a point in the final minute of normal time through Thabantso Jane, despite the protests from the Sierra Leonean players.

The hosts felt Lesotho should have observed fair play and returned the ball to them after the Leone Stars keeper Solomon Zombo Morris had thrown the ball out of play to get medical attention .

CAR scored the first goal of the group stages after just five minutes when Vianney Mabide, who plays in Morocco for Kawkab Marrakech, struck in the 2-0 win over Burundi.

The second goal of the Group E encounter came late in the game and was scored by France-born Louis Mafouta, who plays in the French fourth-tier for RC Grasse.

Malawi's winner in their Group B match came from Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango in the 67th minute as they beat South Sudan 1-0.

Mhango picked up a pass from Gerald Phiri Jr before beating two defenders inside the area and then firing in a fierce shot that South Sudan keeper Majak Mawith was unable to hold as the ball spilled into the net.

It was however a difficult game for Malawi as they struggled to find any fluidity early on, while South Sudan will draw some positives from the match as they twice were denied by the woodwork.

In Group A, Namibia earned a 2-1 win over visiting Chad.

Chad's Mathieu Adoassou put the ball into his own net to give hosts Namibia the lead on 66 minutes and just two minutes later things were level when Indonesia-based Ezechiel N'Douassel

Defender Chris Katjiukua, who plays in South Africa for Black Leopards scored the winner in the 76th minute.

Cameroon, who have already qualified for the finals as hosts, were held to a goalless draw by Cape Verde in Yaounde in Group F.

The Indomitable Lions qualify for the finals as hosts but are taking part in the qualifying campaign to gain competitive match practice which means just one team from Group F will progress to the finals.

The top two sides in the remaining 11 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon.

Wednesday's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations results:

  • Namibia 2-1 Chad (Group A)
  • Malawi 1-0 South Sudan (Group B)
  • Burkina Faso 0-0 Uganda (Group B)
  • Sudan 4-0 Sao Tome and Principe (Group C)
  • Angola 1-3 The Gambia (Group D)
  • CAR 2-0 Burundi (Group E)
  • Cameroon 0-0 Cape Verde (Group F)
  • Guinea Bissau 3-0 Eswatini (Group I)
  • Senegal 2-0 Congo (Group I)
  • Nigeria 2-1 Benin (Group L)
  • Sierra Leone 1-1 Lesotho (Group L)

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