Nearly all of the second round of matches of the African World Cup qualifiers were completed on Tuesday with only a handful of teams maintaining their 100 percent start to the campaign.
Sadio Mane rounded off the scoring as the continent’s top-ranked side Senegal defeated Congo 3-1 on Tuesday. Boulaye Dia had given Senegal the lead shortly before the half hour mark but Silvere Ganvoula leveled the game from the spot in added time of the first half. Ismailia Sarr restored Senegal’s lead with eight minutes of normal time left before Mane sealed their victory with a penalty five minutes later.
The win sent Senegal top of Group H with six points, two ahead of second-placed Namibia with Congo a further three points back. Togo is bottom of the group with zero points.
An own goal by Kenny Rocha Santos in the second half saw Nigeria come from a goal down to beat Cape Verde 2-1. Dylan Tavares opened the scoring for Cape Verde but Napoli forward Victor Osimhen equalized for the Super Eagles on the half hour mark.
Nigeria leads Group C with a maximum six points from two games followed by Liberia, who drew 1-1 with Central African Republic, on three points. Cape Verde and Central African Republic each have a point and are third and fourth respectively.
Tunisia remained top of Group B, also with a maximum six points, after beating Zambia 2-0 courtesy of goals from Wahbi Khazri and substitute Anis Slimane. Zambia lies in second place, level on three points with Equatorial Guinea who picked up their first win with a 1-0 success against bottom-placed Mauritania who are pointless.
A second half equalizer from Abdoul Tapsoba cancelled out Sofiane Feghouli’s opener as Burkina Faso earned a 1-1 draw against African champions Algeria in Marrakech.
Algeria, nevertheless, leads Group A with four points, the same as Burkina Faso, who have an inferior goal difference. Niger are third, a point behind both sides, after claiming a 4-2 win against Djibouti on Monday despite finishing the game with nine men.
Libya are the surprise leaders in Group F with two wins from two games after edging Angola 1-0. Libya is two points ahead of Egypt who drew 1-1 with third-placed Gabon (one point). Angola are bottom and yet to pick a point after their two games.
In Group J, Tanzania came out on top in a five-goal thriller against Madagascar winning 3-2 to move joint top of the table with Benin.
Erasto Nyoni and Novatus Dismas gave Tanzania a 2-0 lead but they were then pegged back by strikes from Njiva Rakotoharimalala and Thomas Fontaine just before halftime. Feisul Salum netted the winner eight minutes after the restart to give the Taifa Stars a first win of the group stage.
Tanzania has four points, the same as Benin who drew 1-1 with Democratic Republic of Congo, who are third with two points, while Madagascar are last with no points.
Elsewhere, forward Piqueti scored twice for Guinea Bissau who thumped Sudan 4-2 and leapfrogged Morocco to go top of the Group I on four points. Frederic Mendy and substitute Mama Balde added the other goals for the West Africans while Mohamed Abdel Raman bagged a brace for Sudan.
The game between Guinea and Morocco, the only fixture of this round yet to be played, was postponed due to the political and security crisis in Guinea following the military takeover on Sunday.
Malawi narrowly beat Mozambique 1-0 in Group D to go level on three points with Cameroon in second who lost 2-1 to leaders Côte d’Ivoire on Monday.
Zdravko Logarusic’s woes deepened as a late penalty from Aschalew Tamene gave Ethiopia a 1-0 win against Zimbabwe in Group G. Zimbabwe has failed to win any of their past seven matches with local media reports constantly speculating about the Croat’s long-term future at the helm of the The Warriors.
South Africa leads the group with four points following their 1-0 win over Ghana, who are joint second with Ethiopia on three points and Zimbabwe props the table with one point so far.
Mali leads Group E with four points following a goalless draw with 10-man Uganda who are joint second with fellow East Africans Kenya on two points and Rwanda a further point back in fourth.
The group stage, the second phase of qualifying for the continent, will see the ten group winners advance to a third and final qualifying round.
The ten group winners will then play a two-legged playoff tie with the five winners qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)