South Africa 2 (Matlaba 34, Parker 70)
Central African Republic 0
A goal in each half lifted the Bafana Bafana to a vital 2-0 win over Central African Republic as they climbed top of Group A in their World Cup qualifying match at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Bafana, though dominant, were anything but clinical in front of goal early on, and it took a 33rd minute long-range screamer from Thabo Matlaba to give the home side the advantage. The hosts took a real blow just minutes after the opening strike when Dean Furman went down in the Bafana box after a challenge. The medical staff strapped his head and he left the field, with Kagisho Dikgacoi coming on in his place.
With the midfield lacking in penetration in the second half, it took a well-weighted pass from substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala to set up Bernard Parker for the second goal. Captain Itumeleng Khune also pulled off two crucial saves to deny the visitors.
Tunisia 2 (Darragi 57, Khazri 72)
Sierra Leone 1 (Kamara 74)
Tunisia retained their 100 percent record in Group B with a 2-1 home win over Sierra Leone in Rades on Saturday evening. The Carthage Eagles, playing their first competitive match under new coach Nabil Maaloul following their poor showing at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, are now the clear favourites to progress from the group and into the final phase of qualifying.
The Leone Stars, meanwhile, remain second on the standings but are now a full five points adrift of Tunisia. They could be overhauled by Equatorial Guinea, who host Cape Verde tomorrow.
The North Africans had claimed victories over Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde in their first two matches, and consolidated their place at the top of the mini log with this hard-fought victory. A goalless first half saw the Carthage Eagles frustrated by their visitors’ resilient defence and goalkeeper Christian Caulker. However, just 12 minutes into the second stanza, Tunisia broke the deadlock through attacker Oussama Darragi.
They doubled their advantage when Wahbi Khrazi struck in the 72nd minute, but had little time to relax as Sierra Leone replied almost immediately through Alhassan Kamara to make it 2-1 with just over a quarter hour to play. Tunisia had a few tense moments in what remained of the match, but were able to hold out for a third successive victory.
Ivory Coast 3 (Bony 49P, Yaya Toure 59, Kalou 74)
Yaya Toure was on the score sheet as the Ivory Coast defeated Gambia 3-0. The Manchester City midfielder was at the centre of the action throughout as he completed 90 minutes for his country, and the Elephants cemented their place at the top of their qualifying group.
The Ivory Coast were already a goal to the good when a free kick was floated into the box just before the hour mark and Yaya rose tall to head powerfully into the net. Wifried Bony and Salomon Kalou scored either side to mark a comfortable victory.
Yaya might have added to his international tally of 13 goals, coming close on several more occasions. He was close to opening the scoring for the hosts after 20 minutes when Gervinho found him unmarked in the box, but he slid his shot just wide of the post. He also lashed a strike into the sidenetting shortly after Bony’s penalty, and smacked the ball against the bar as the final whistle approached.
Congo 1 (Samba 67)
Queens Park Rangers defender Christopher Samba scored the only goal of the match midway through the second half to help the Red Devils consolidate their place at the top of the standings. The two sides went into the break with the deadlock still intact but the French-born defender struck in the 67th minute to take Kamel Djabour’s side six points clear with the match between Burkina Faso and Niger still to follow.
The 1972 African Champions have never qualified for the World Cup but this victory has increased their chances of securing the biggest achievement in their footballing history. Gabon remain in third place with three points and Paulo Duarte’s side will look to win their remaining matches to revive their hopes of going through to the next round of qualifiers.
Burkina Faso 4 (Pitroipa 3, Bance 36, Kabore 78, Nakoulma 88)
Burkina Faso have sealed their first points of the qualification campaign with a commanding 4-0 win over Niger. The runners-up at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations continued that fine form with a wonderful display that showed off their attacking threat.
They had the lead inside three minutes when Jonathan Pitroipa found the back of the net to settle home nerves. It was 2-0 on 36 minutes when Aristide Bance netted, before Charles Kabore made the points safe 12 minutes from time. Prejuce Nakoulma added the fourth late on. Congo lead the pool with nine points, followed by three teams with a single win each – the Burkinabe, Niger and Gabon.
Malawi 1 (Mhango 69)
Malawi have boosted their chances of reaching Brazil with a 1-0 victory over Namibia in Windhoek on Saturday. The only goal of the game was scored by Gabadin Mhango 20 minutes from time to give The Flames their first victory in the pool and leave them level with Nigeria on five points.
Both Southern Afircan sides fielded expected line-ups, with 15 of the 22 players that started having either played or are currently plying their trade, in the South African PSL. It gave a familiarity to the fixture and there was little to choose between the sides in the opening half. Malawi began to exert some dominance after the break, and it wasno surprise when Mhango forced the ball home. Namibia pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but were frustrated by the stubborn visitors, who held on for a precious win.
Nigeria 1 (Oduamadi 90)
Kenya 1 (Kahata 37)
Substitute Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a 90th minute equaliser as African champions Nigeria snatched a late 1-1 draw against Kenya. Kenya were looking good to end their search for victory over Nigeria when Francis Kahata curled a 20 yard free-kick in for the goal in the 38th minute after Elderson Echijiele had brought down Victor Wanyama.
The Super Eagles efforts to score goals in first half was thwarted by bravery of Armold Origi in goal.
Mikel Obi had an 8th minute freeckick saved by Origi who also stopped Brown Ideye and Victor Moses in 45th minute.
Nigeria dominated the game but the determination of Kenya defensive line as well as Origi in goal frustrated the Super Eagles efforts. Coach Stephen Keshi threw in Ahmed Musa for Obafemi Martins in 60th minute to add some bite to the Super Eagles attack before the masterstroke addition of Oduamadi for Mba with fifteen minutes left on the clock.
Cameroon 2 (Eto’o 42P, 82)
Togo 1 (Wome 45+1)
A Samuel Eto’o double on Saturday afternoon allowed Cameroon to take the lead in Group I. Cameroon took control of the clash from kick-off and in the sixth minute, a free kick by Eto’o was headed by Léonard Kwekeu, but met the post of Togolese ‘keeper Baba Tchagouni.
The Indomitable Lions continued to press and on the quarter hour mark, it took Tchagouni two attempts to control a powerful strike by Jean II Makoun. The Sparrowhawks could have opened the score against the run of play ten minutes later, but Dove Womé lost his duel with Charles Itandje. Jean-Paul Akono’s men managed to unblock the situation in the 41st minute when, at the end of an action well led by Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Achille Emana, Kwekeu found himself destabilised in the penalty area.
The Indomitable Lions captain saw to his responsibilities at the penalty spot and gave the locals a deserved lead. But less than five minutes later, Maman Gafar outran Benoît Angbwa on the right flank for Dove Womé, who beat Itandje to equalise for his team. The two outfits headed back to the cloakrooms at the break on an equal footing, but one which did not fairly reflect Cameroon’s dominance. The Lions continued their attack on goal led by Tchagouni in the second half, and in the 52nd minute, following a fine run by Samuel Eto’o in the penalty area, Jean II Makoun found his attempt stopped by the Togolese goalkeeper.
The Cameroon captain had another chance just after the hour mark on a free kick after a foul on Stéphane Mbia, but the Anzhi striker’s shot brushed Tchagouni’s left post. But it was just a matter of time before the former Barcelona player gave his team the advantage in the 82nd minute with a superb curled shot.
Senegal 1 (Sow 39)
Angola 1 (Amaro 75)
Senegal, who led their group by two points before the match, went in as favourites, despite not having won a match since September. The game was on neutral ground in Guinea. Senegal were the home team, but they were given a ban by CAF following riots by their fans last year.
The deadlock was broken when Moussa Sow found the back of the net on 39 minutes. The Fenerbahçe striker, who has been capped for France under-21 as well, has been in good form for his club. He was withdrawn with 20 minutes to play, and shortly thereafter, Angola managed to break through the Senegalese defence. Angola equalised on 75 minutes through defender Amândio Felipe da Costa, better known as Amaro.
Chelsea’s Demba Ba was withdrawn shortly after the goal after an average performance. He was replaced by his former Newcastle United teammate Papiss Cissé, but the striker had little effect. The game ended 1-1 with neither pushing hard for the winner at the end.
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