Morocco has become the first to qualify for the 2023 African Cup of Nations in football, which will be held in Ivory Coast early next year, taking advantage of its direct chasers South Africa and its host Liberia 2-2 on Friday, March 24, 2023, in the third round of the eleventh group competitions for the qualifying qualifiers.
South Africa missed a victory within reach when it advanced to its host Liberia with two clean goals scored by Burnley English striker Lyle Foster (11 penalties and 22), before the guests responded with a brace in the second half through Tonya Teasdale (68) and a wonderful long-range missile shot by Muhammad Sangareh ( 90+1).
Morocco qualified for the finals, securing one of the first and second places from the group, which includes only three teams, after the exclusion of Zimbabwe by the International Federation of the Game (FIFA) due to the government’s interference in the affairs of the local federation.
Morocco leads the group with six points, five points ahead of South Africa and Liberia, who will meet next Tuesday in Morocco, which Liberia has taken as a home ground for not adopting its national stadium that does not conform to FIFA standards.
It has become impossible for both the South African and Liberian teams to collect six points together, as they are playing face to face in the fourth round, and each of them faces Morocco in the last two rounds. If they tied Tuesday and beat Morocco in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Salah restores balance to the Pharaohs
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah restored balance to the Egyptian national team by leading it to a 2-0 victory over Malawi at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo.
Salah gave Egypt the lead in the 20th minute, taking advantage of a pass from Mohamed Hamdi Ashraf, and German Wolfsburg striker Omar Marmoush added the second goal with a powerful shot from outside the area that hit the foot of one of the defenders, and the goalkeeper followed it up with his hand inside the goal (45 + 1).
Leader Salah returns to the Pharaohs squad after he missed the 2-0 defeat against Ethiopia in the second round, which was one of the reasons that precipitated the dismissal of coach Ihab Jalal, two months after he assumed the task, and the appointment of Portuguese Roy Vitoria.
Egypt temporarily took the lead in Group D with 6 points, three points ahead of Guinea and Ethiopia, who play later.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo regained its balance and achieved its first victory in the qualifiers when it defeated its guest, Mauritania, 3-1 in Lubumbashi, at the end of the third round of the ninth group competitions.
Mauritania received an early painful blow by expelling its striker Idrissa Thiam in the 22nd minute, so the Democratic Republic of the Congo took advantage of the numerical shortage and settled the first half in its favor with two goals scored by French Nice midfielder Gael Kakota (37) and French Marseille striker Cedric Bakambo (42).
French Valenciennes striker Ali Abeid brought the Al Mourabitoun team back into the match by reducing the difference at the beginning of the second half (55), but Turkish Besiktas defender Artur Masuaku restored the difference to its former state and secured the first victory for his country after two consecutive losses, by scoring the third goal in the 67th minute.
The Congolese national team remained in last place with three points, on goal difference, behind Sudan, who lost 1-0 to Gabon on Thursday in the opening of the group competitions.
On the other hand, Mauritania suffered its first loss after a victory and a draw, so its score stuck at four points and failed to regain the lead from Gabon (7 points).
Mauritania has the opportunity to rehabilitate the Democratic Republic of the Congo when it hosts it next Tuesday in the fourth round, while Sudan hosts Gabon next Monday.
In Group F, Tanzania followed the example of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and achieved its first victory when it defeated its host Uganda 1-0, scored by Saudi Al-Qadisiyah striker Simon Msufa in the 68th minute.
Tanzania took advantage of Niger’s loss against Algeria, the leader with a full score, in three rounds (1-2) on Thursday, and took second place with 4 points, compared to two points for the latter.
Surprising loss for Nigeria
Guinea-Bissau detonated a heavy-caliber surprise by defeating its host Nigeria 1-0 at the National Stadium in Abuja in Group A competitions.
Guinea-Bissau owes its victory to Troyes’ French striker Mama Balde, who scored the only goal in the 29th minute.
Nigeria’s star-studded offensive line, especially Napoli’s top scorer and Italian international Victor Osimhen, and Leicester City’s English striker Kelechi Iheanacho, were unable to dismantle the defensive bloc of Guinea-Bissau. The “Excellent Eagles” suffered the first loss after two consecutive victories, and its score froze at six points and fell to second place, one point behind Guinea. Bissau took the lead.
Ivory Coast regained the top spot in Group Eight from Zambia by defeating its guest, Comoros, 3-1, with three goals for Italian Fiorentina strikers Christian Kwame (29), Borussia Dortmund, German Sebastien Haller (61), and French Saint-Etienne, Jean-Philippe Crasso (89), against a goal by Ibrahim Youssef Juda (90). ).
Ivory Coast, which automatically qualifies as the host country for the continental wedding, raised its score to 7 points, one point ahead of Zambia, which beat Lesotho with the same result on Thursday, while Comoros stuck at three points in third place.
Mali achieved its third successive victory when it defeated its guest Gambia 2-0, scored by Kamuri Doumbia (3) and Adama Traoré (90 + 3 from a penalty kick), and consolidated its lead in Group G.
In turn, Burkina Faso achieved its third victory in a row when it defeated its guest, Togo, 1-0, scored by Tapsoba (88), and consolidated its lead in the second group.
Cape Verde tied negatively with Eswatini in the same group.
Defending champion Senegal honored its guest Mozambique by defeating it 5-1 in Group Twelve.
Senegal won the match in its first half by scoring 4 goals, and Youssef Sabali (9), captain Sadio Mane, who returned to the squad after missing it in the Qatar World Cup late last year (15), Eliman Ndiaye (32) and Boulay Dia (39).
Lourenco Vilanculos scored Mozambique’s only goal in the 48th minute, before Habib Diallo finished the festival with the fifth goal (89).
It is the third victory in a row for Senegal, compared to 4 for Mozambique, the second.
Equatorial Guinea took the lead in Group X temporarily by defeating Botswana with two clean goals scored by Saul Cocu (20) and Federico Piccoro (66).
Botswana played with ten players since the 53rd minute, after its defender Tatu Kibue was sent off for receiving a second yellow card.
Equatorial Guinea raised its score to 6 points, two points ahead of Tunisia, which will meet Libya later.
Later, Cameroon will also play with Namibia in the third.