Titanic battle! Group D now a two-horse race by Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon

Titanic battle! Group D now a two-horse race by Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon
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Wins for Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire mean that both are the  only two left in the race for the lone World Cup play-off place from Group D of African qualifying.

Cameroon shrugged off a delayed arrival in Morocco to beat Mozambique 1-0 with Centre-back Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui netting the winner in the 68th minute.

Logistical issues had caused delays leaving Douala, which meant the Cameroon squad only landed in Tangier less than 12 hours before kick-off.

However it was Ivory Coast who retained top place in the group with a 2-1 win over Malawi in Cotonou, Benin.

The Elephants opened the scoring after just two minutes through Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe, with South Africa-based Khuda Muyaba equalised 18 minutes later for the Flames.

AC Milan’s Franck Kessie secured the three points for Ivory Coast when he scored from the penalty spot in the 66th minute.

The defeats for Mozambique and Malawi mean neither side can qualify for the World Cup.

Ivory Coast top the group on 10 points just one ahead of the Indomitable Lions going into the final two qualifiers in November, with the final tie a potential winner takes all between the two in Cameroon.

Only the group winners will reach next March’s play-offs, where Africa’s five representatives in Qatar will be decided.

Mozambique and Ivory Coast are among 11 countries who have been ordered by the Caf to play home games on neutral soil because local stadia are unfit for use.

Burkina Faso kept up the pressure on Algeria in Group A with a 2-0 win over Djibouti, who are now another side who cannot reach the play-offs.

Issoufou Dayo and then Adboul Tapsoba, with his fourth goal in his last three internationals, ensured the win for the Stallions in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, with Burkina Faso another nation unable to host international matches.

Djibouti played the 23 minutes of the match with 10 men after Aptidon Daher was shown a straight red card.

The win moves Burkina Faso to the top of the group with 10 points but African champions Algeria will regain top spot on goal difference if they can beat hosts Niger on Tuesday.

Niger, who lost 6-1 in Algeria on Friday, must beat the Desert Foxes to have any chance of progressing to the play-offs.

Gabon off mark as Bettamer backs Libya to pip Egypt

Elsewhere, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored as Gabon beat Angola 2-0 in Franceville to register their first win in Group F.

The Arsenal striker lashed in a back-post volley in the 74th minute and To Carneiro’s own goal doubled the Panthers’ lead six minutes from time.

Gabon move on to four points in the table and leapfrog Angola, who have three points.

Egypt top the group on seven points – one ahead of Libya, who host the Pharaohs in a crucial tie in Benghazi on Monday (19:00 GMT).

Striker Mo Bettamer believes Libya are capable of pipping Carlos Quieroz’s side to top spot in Group F.

“We still have our destiny in our own hands,” Bettamer told Sportshour on the BBC World Service.

“The players from the Libyan league have stepped up and it’s been a good campaign so far.

“When we first saw the group there were good teams in it, with Gabon with [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and Egypt with Mohamed Salah.

“We have got the players to do well and get a result.”

Libya lost 1-0 to Egypt in Alexandria on Friday, but Bettamer hopes home advantage will come into play when the two sides meet again.

“Football is a big thing in Libya, especially with what is happening politically over there,” the 28-year-old added.

“Football is keeping people on the edge of their seats, and everyone is excited about what can happen in these World Cup qualifiers.”

Elsewhere in African World Cup qualifying, Burkina Faso can move ahead of Group A leaders Algeria if the Stallions avoid defeat against Djibouti in Marrakech.

-BBC

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