Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers: Algeria crush Zambia

Algeria striker Baghdad Bounedjah
Algeria striker Baghdad Bounedjah scored the winning goal in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final

Kenya held Egypt 1-1 and defending champions Algeria crushed Zambia 5-0 in Thursday's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Debutant Mohammed Kudus clinched victory for Ghana over South Africa while Mali and Guinea ended 2-2 after four goals in 19 minutes.

Elsewhere Comoros upset Togo, Gabon held DR Congo and Mozambique were too strong for Rwanda.

Algeria, who edged Senegal 1-0 in July to win the Nations Cup for a second time, finished strongly to humiliate 2012 champions Zambia 5-0 in Blida.

The surprisingly easy Group H victory extended the unbeaten run of the Desert Foxes to 17 matches since losing away to Benin last October.

Baghdad Bounedjah, whose second-minute goal won the 2019 final in Cairo, scored twice, with his first from a 68th-minute penalty giving Algeria a two-goal advantage.

Youcef Belaili, El Arbi Soudani and Bounedjah again netted during the final 15 minutes as the resistance of the Chipolopolo collapsed.

Ghana were impressive 2-0 Group C winners over South Africa in a Cape Coast showdown between former champions longing for a return of the good old days.

It is 37 years since the Black Stars won the last of four Nations Cup titles while Bafana Bafana's only triumph came 23 years ago.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey thrilled a capacity crowd by scoring nine minutes before half-time and Kudus celebrated his first cap by netting on 80 minutes.

Aubameyang, who has scored eight Premier League goals this season, was held goalless in Kinshasa, but will have been thrilled after Gabon forced a 0-0 Group D draw with DR Congo.

Gabon have struggled in recent Nations Cup campaigns failing to get past the first round as 2017 hosts and not even qualifying for an expanded 24-team 2019 tournament.

Mali led twice only to be pegged back each time by Guinea in a Group A encounter that burst into life when Adama Traore Noss gave the home team a 56th-minute lead.

The Bamako crowd were then enraptured as Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita equalised, Sekou Koita put Mali ahead a second time and Sekou Conde scored to earn Guinea a point.

However Guinea's game was marred by a dislocated shoulder for goalkeeper Aly Keita that rules him out of Sunday's qualifier against Nambia in Conakry.

The 32-year-old Sweden-based Keita had started the match but was substituted in the 55th minutes just after Traore had given Mali the lead.

Horoya keeper Moussa Camara replaced Keita, who is due to return to Sweden on Friday for medical treatment.

Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Moneim
Egypt's Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Moneim plays in Portugal for Aves

Earlier on Thursday sparse crowd watched Egypt'sGroup G stalemate with Kenya at the Borg El Arabia near Alexandria with fans preferring not to make the long trek to the watch the Pharaohs.

Both goals were the results of errors first Kenya gifted Egypt, who were without the injured Mohamed Salah, the opening goal with a poor back pass from Eric Ouma three minutes before half-time.

His weak effort saw substitute keeper Ian Otieno rush out of the area but he was beaten to the loose ball by Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Moneim who then was able to pass into an empty net.

Kenya's equalizer came in the 67th minute as goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy and defender Ahmed Fathi seemed to get in each others way trying to clear a ball that fell to Japan-based Michael Olunga to fire home.

In the 81st minute Otieno let a shot slip under him but fortunately one of his defenders cleared the ball off the line, the resulting shot by Egypt was blocked by another defender before a third effort was deflected out for a corner.

There was a shock in the other Group G match in Lome as Claude Le Roy's Togo succumbed to Comoros.

Comoros took the lead six minutes after half-time as Belgium-based Faiz Selemanie scored the only goal of the match that puts his side top of the group after just one match.

Mozambique's Group F win over Rwanda was played in damp conditions in Maputo.

The hosts took the lead when Mozambique after 27 minutes were awarded a penalty for handball and Telinho stepped up to convert as he squeezed his effort between the post and the goalkeeper's despairing dive.

The second goal came just two minutes later after some good work down the left wing and a cross that evaded the Rwandan defenders and allowed Edson Mexer to guide the ball home from close range.

A floodlight failure towards the end of the match only delayed the inevitable win for Mozambique.

The top two sides in 11 of the 12 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon.

Cameroon 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.

2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying results

Thursday:

  • Mali 2-2 Guinea (Group A)
  • Ghana 2-0 South Africa (Group C)
  • DR Congo 0-0 Gabon (Group D)
  • Mozambique 2-0 Rwanda (Group F)
  • Egypt 1-1 Kenya (Group G)
  • Togo 0-1 Comoros (Group G)
  • Algeria 5-0 Zambia (Group H)

Wednesday:

  • 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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