Three of the teams regarded among the pre-tournament favourites for the upcoming 2019 African Cup of Nations secured wins on Sunday in their respective friendlies just five days to the start of the continental showpiece.
Senegal edged fellow African giants Nigeria 1-0, Egypt beat Guinea 3-1 while Algeria overcame Mali 3-2.
At the Ismaïlia Stadium in Ismaïlia, Egypt, Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye netted the only goal of the game after 18 minutes for Senegal, who registered a first victory against the Super Eagles in 17 years.
Meanwhile, tournament hosts Egypt beat Guinea 3-1 at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria. Marwan Mohsen opened the scoring for Egypt on 11 minutes. Substitute Sory Kaba equalised for Guinea on 63 minutes. Ahmed Ali restored the Pharaohs’ lead on 77 minutes and Omar Gaber sealed the win with a finish four minutes from time.
Algeria twice came from a goal down to beat Mali 3-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Abdoulay Diaby successfully converted a penalty after 19 minutes but Baghdad Bounedjah leveled the tie five minutes to halftime.
Falaye Sacko restored Mali’s lead on 68 minutes only for the Algerians to equalize again with a penalty of their own, two minutes later, through Youcef Belaili. Andy Delort completed the comeback with a goal on 80 minutes and the Algerians held on for the win.
In other results, Ajax star Hakim Ziyech’s brace could not stop Morocco suffering a third straight defeat going down 3-2 to Zambia at the Stade de Marrakech, in Marrakech. The Moroccans had previously lost to Argentina and Gambia in their other friendlies.
The Africa Cup of Nations starts on Friday in Egypt with the hosts playing Zimbabwe in Group A at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.