Algeria, Cameroon, Nigeria advance to World Cup qualifying playoffs

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A number of Africa’s football heavyweights confirmed their places in the final round of the African World Cup qualifiers with the conclusion of the second phase of qualifying on Tuesday.

Defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Algeria twice threw away a lead to draw 2-2 with Burkina Faso in Blida.

Algerian captain Riyad Mahrez is congratulated for scoring a goal during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Algeria and Burkina Faso held at Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida, Algeria. /CFP

Riyad Mahrez and Sofiane Feghouli gave Algeria the lead in either half but Burkina Faso hit back each time through Zakaria Sanogo and Issoufou Dayo.

The result saw Algeria finish top of Group A with 14 points, two ahead of second-placed Burkina Faso. It also preserved Algeria’s long unbeaten streak which stretched to 20 matches.

Cameroon picked up the result of the night edging West African rivals Côte d’Ivoire 1-0 in Yaoundé with Karl Toko Ekambi netting the lone goal shortly before the midway point in the first half.

Karl Toko Ekambi of Cameroon (c) celebrates goal during the 2022 World Cup Qualifier football match between Cameroon and Ivory Coast at Omnisport Stadium, Douala, Cameroon. /CFP

The win propelled Cameroon to the summit of Group D to 15 points while Côte d’Ivoire dropped to second on 13 points.

In Group C, Victor Osimhen’s strike was canceled out by Stopira as Nigeria was held to a 1-1 draw by Cape Verde in Lagos.

The result was, however, not enough for Cape Verde to overtake  Nigeria who ended the group stage top with 13 points while Cape Verde remained second, a further two points back.

Tunisia also avoided a shock exit in the second round of qualifying after defeating Zambia while their closest challengers Equatorial Guinea could only draw with Mauritania.

Tunisia celebrate a goal during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Tunisia and Mauritania held at Stade Olympique de Rades in Rades, Tunisia. /CFP

First-half goals from Aissa Laidouni, Mohamed Drager and Ali Maaloul earned the North Africans a 3-1 win which saw them finish top of Group B with 13 points, two ahead of Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, Morocco ended their campaign with a 100 percent record following a 3-0 win against Guinea in Group I while Liberia scored a win in their final game in Group C beating the Central African Republic 3-1.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egypt, who already qualified for the playoffs, beat 10-man Gabon 2-1, Libya drew 1-1 with Angola and Mozambique edged Malawi 1-0.

The ten teams that have qualified for the final round of qualifying for the World Cup are Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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