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Ivory Coast dominates, Ghana scrapes victory: African heavyweights navigate world cup qualifiers

Posted : 18 November 2023
Ivory Coast showcased an impressive start to their World Cup qualifying campaign with a resounding 9-0 victory over Seychelles in Group F. Teenage striker Karim Konaté and substitute Hamed Traoré each scored twice, contributing to a dominant performance that could have seen an even larger margin of victory but for Seychelles' goalkeeper Carlos Simoen's notable saves.
Tunisia secured a 4-0 win at home against Sao Tome e Principe in Group H, with captain Youssef Msakni among the scorers. Meanwhile, Cameroon, the most experienced African nation in World Cup appearances, faced a tough battle against Mauritius in Group D, ultimately prevailing with a 3-0 victory. Bryan Mbuemo's goal just before halftime set the tone for the Indomitable Lions, who added two more late goals in Douala.
Ghana had a challenging home match against Madagascar in Group I, finally breaking the deadlock in stoppage time as former Spain international Iñaki Williams scored his first goal for the Black Stars. The Comoros Islands secured a 4-2 victory over the Central African Republic in the same group, while Mali beat Chad 3-1, with 30-year-old debutant Youssoufou Niakate among the goal-scorers.
In Group E, Zambia fought back from a 2-1 deficit after 15 minutes to win 4-2 against Congo, with Patson Daka scoring twice. Guinea claimed a 2-1 victory over Uganda in Group G, with Seydouba Cisse netting a crucial goal in stoppage time. Guinea had to move their home qualifier to a neutral venue due to concerns over the security situation in their country.
Elsewhere, Libya secured a 1-0 away victory against Eswatini in Group D, and Malawi won 1-0 against Liberia in Group H, with Chifundo Mphasi scoring as a substitute in Monrovia. In an upset in Group A, Guinea Bissau held Burkina Faso to a 1-1 draw.
With three more qualifiers scheduled for Saturday, the first round of matches in the African zone will be completed. The African preliminaries feature nine groups, with the group winners earning direct qualification to the 2026 finals, and the four best runners-up entering a two-tier playoff system for an additional chance to qualify.


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