Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia qualified, Algeria and Egypt disappointed

Four days after the first matches of these World Cup qualifiers in the Africa Zone, the ten teams still in action met for the second time, on Tuesday 29 March. At stake, five tickets to the next World Cup, hosted in Qatar from November 2022. Five-star posters including a confrontation between Egypt and Senegal, the last two finalists of the African Cup of Nations.

Senegal frustrates Egypt again on penalty kick

After 210 minutes of play in total, Senegalese and Egyptians finally had to take a penalty kick. In the boiling atmosphere of the brand new Abdoulaye Wade Stadium in Diamniadio (Senegal), the Teranga Lions snatched their qualification on penalty kicks during a session of many failures. A double confrontation that ends as the CAN final between these two nations, with a victory shot on goal by Sadio Mané.

Before that, the match had started with a bang with Boulaye Dia’s quick prelude. A performance by the Villarreal striker, which brought the two teams to a perfect tie after the 1-0 victory for Carlos Queiroz’s players in the first match.

Senegalese and Egyptians surrendered blow by blow both technically and physically. Aliou Cissé’s players still have the best chances, especially a match point for Ismaïla Sarr, who did not frame his shot when he faced the goalkeeper (82nd). Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy marked himself with nine saves during the match and one during the penalty shootout. An insufficient performance to send him to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Karl Toko-Ekambi, national hero

What a scenario in Blida between Algeria and Cameroon! Karl Toko-Ekambi qualified his country on a goal at the last second (120. + 4), while his selection was virtually eliminated since the goal by Ahmed Touba (117) a few minutes earlier. The Indomitable Lions can thank André Onana, heroically with eleven saves including precious saves in overtime.

After a 1-0 victory in the first match, the Fennecs arrived at Blida, their fortress, where they had never been beaten, with favorable votes. An advantage erased by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from the 22nd minute, which put the two choices back against back.

It was then Algeria who proved dangerous with two goals logically rejected for Islam Slimani. Dominating in the air, Lyonnais also came up against André Onana. Raïs M’Bolhi also saved his team thanks to a double parade. Ahmed Touba’s goal (118th) from a Rachid Ghezzal corner seemed to give Fennecs the final advantage, but Karl Toko-Ekambi appeared after a throw-in from a post to catapult the ball into the net.

With this 2-1 victory in extra time, the Cameroonians benefit from the rule of away goals to qualify for the World Cup. Absent in 2018, the indomitable Lions were very close to missing another World Cup in a row, which has not happened to them since 1978.

Morocco enforces hierarchy against Congo

The Moroccans were big favorites in the double confrontation. The Moroccans had been bumped in the first match in Congo and had equalized at the end of the match through Tarik Tissoudali (1-1). The Le Havre striker struck again in the return match in Casablanca (45th + 7th). A goal prior to a surgical attack from Angevin Azzedine Ounahi (21st), who opened the scoring and even scored a double at the start of the second period (55th). Achraf Hakimi also came to attend the party (70th) before Ben Malango Ngita reduced the score (77th).

Thanks to this 4-1 victory, Morocco qualifies for the fifth World Cup in its history. A logical qualification that enables Vahid Halilhodzic to regain confidence after the elimination in the quarterfinals of CAN and the criticism that followed.

Black Stars qualified without winning

After a draw in the first match on Ghanaian soil (0-0), everything was settled in Abuja, Nigeria. With the away goal rule still in force, Ghana’s early opening match sent through Thomas Partey on a handball by Francis Uzoho (11th) the Nigerians in attack.

The Super Eagles then had to score two goals in hopes of qualifying for a seventh World Cup in eight editions. Rewarded with a penalty kick after a small contact in the box, Augustine Eguavoen equalized through William Troost-Ekong, ten minutes later (21st).

Ghanaian players celebrate their qualification for the 2022 World Cup on March 29, 2022 in Abuja (Nigeria).  (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Offensively and dangerously, the Nigerians even thought they had done the hardest after a goal from Victor Osimhen who had won his face to face with Joe Wollacott (34th). A realization logically rejected an offside position for the Neapolitan attacker. But Ghana held on and qualified for the fourth World Cup in its history. Black Stars would like to repeat their feat from 2010 and reach the quarterfinals again. No African team has done better since.

Tunisia delivers the essentials

After a 1-0 victory in the first match over a huge mistake by the Malian central defender Moussa Sissako, the Tunisians qualified for the next World Cup with a draw 0-0. The Malians struggled to put themselves in a position to destabilize the Carthage Eagles, except for a goal that was deflected for an offside position for Abdoulaye Diaby.

At home, the men from Jalel Kadri, deployed after CAN, win a ticket to the World Cup, the second in a row and the fifth in their history. The Eagles of Carthage have never left the group stage in the queen competition.

Leave a Comment