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AFCON

Despite Late Equaliser Algeria No Win Streak At Cup Of Nations Stretches To Five Matches –

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Despite Late Equaliser Algeria No Win Streak At Cup Of Nations Stretches To Five Matches -

Since beating Senegal in Cairo in the 2019 final match, Algeria are yet to win a match at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The no-win streak stretches to five on Saturday after escaping from defeat and drew 2-2 with Burkina Faso.

Algeria netted a stoppage-time equaliser to escape defeat at the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso in Group D in Bouake that spared the 2019 champions a major setback at the tournament.

Baghdad Bounedjah netted from a corner five minutes into stoppage time at the end to ensure his side a share of the spoils and deny Burkina Faso early progress to the next stage.

Bounedjah scored both Algeria’s goals while Mohamed Konate and Bertrand Traore netted for the Burkinabe, who remain top of the group on four points compared with two for Algeria.

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Burkina Faso came desperately close to a smash-and-grab victory that would have seen them through to the last-16 with a guaranteed top two finish. They were under pressure for much of the match but had two VAR decisions go in their favour.

Algeria failed to take their first-half opportunities, with Youcef Belaili wasteful as Burkinabe goalkeeper Herve Koffi looked nervous and twice cleared balls straight to the Algerians and was fortunate they did could not finish.

Almost inevitably, Burkina scored with a rare attack in stoppage time at the end of the first half as a long ball from Abdoul Fessal Tapsoba went over the Algerian defence and was headed homed by a leaping Konate. The whistle was immediately blown for offside, but a VAR check went in Konate’s favour.

Algeria equalised in the 51st minute when a free kick was partially blocked and fell for Nabil Bentaleb, whose shot was parried by the goalkeeper down to the feet of Bounedjah, who recovered quickly to sweep the ball in from close range.

Burkina Faso’s lead was restored from the penalty spot in 71st minute by substitute Traore, who had also netted a stoppage time penalty for a 1-0 win over Mauritania in their first Group D game.

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It was another VAR check that went Burkina’s way, revealing a wild tackle by Rayan Ait Nouri on Issa Kabore. The referee had not given the kick but replays showed Ait Nouri had missed the ball as he attempted to clear and caught Kabore on the shin.

A corner late in the game delivered relief for Algeria as Bounedjah leaped up to head home from the set piece.

“I have confidence in my players, they came back with the same determination, what we are missing is being more killer (instinct),” said Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi afterwards.

Algeria were Cup of Nations winners in 2019 but made a horror defence of their title in Cameroon two years ago, where they went home with a single point and in last place in their group and faced a similar scenario again after drawing their opening game in the Ivory Coast against Angola.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Liberia, Eswatini hold upper hand in AFCON 2025 preliminary qualifiers –

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Liberia, Eswatini Hold Upper Hand In AFCON 2025 Preliminary Qualifiers -

After commanding victories in the first leg matches of the Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, qualifiers, Chad, Liberia, and Eswatini find themselves in advantageous positions as they gear up for the return fixtures scheduled for Tuesday.

As the second leg of the preliminary fixtures approach, all eyes will be on these teams as they vie for their coveted spots in the group phase of the qualifiers, with the hopes of making their mark on the continental stage.

Chad emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win over Mauritius, joining Liberia and Eswatini in the lead after their impressive triumphs earlier last week.

Liberia secured a 2-0 victory against Djibouti, while Eswatini displayed their dominance with a 3-0 win over Somalia.

The second leg promises to be fiercely contested, particularly for Chad, who will face a challenging encounter against Mauritius on the latter’s home turf.

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Coach Kevin Nicaise’s players are keen to defend their slender lead and secure their spot in the next phase of the qualifiers but the trainer admits they have an arduous task.

“We are far from perfect, far from being a top team in the world. We are in the construction phase. There are still things to work on and improve,” coach Nicaise said after their first-leg win.

“It is not overnight that we will be a top team in the world, we are aware of that, however we are working hard with the group and the staff to achieve this goal.”

Meanwhile, Liberia will host Djibouti, aiming to build on their first-leg success and seal their progression to the next round.

Eswatini will host Somalia with confidence, seeking to maintain their winning momentum and secure passage to the next stage of the tournament.

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South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe will also face off in what is expected to be a closely contested encounter, following their goalless draw in the first leg.

With both teams eager for victory, the match promises to be a thrilling battle for supremacy.

-CAF

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

Liberia and Eswatini took commanding leads in their respective Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, preliminary round ties after claiming impressive away victories on Wednesday.

Liberia captain Murphy Dorley scored one of two first-half goals as the Lone Stars defeated hosts Djibouti 2-0 in the opening leg in  Marrakech.

Mohammed Sangare broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on 23 minutes before Dorley coolly slotted home Sebastian Teclar’s cross 12 minutes later.

Djibouti struggled to lay a glove on their more illustrious opponents as the Lone Star side kept them at bay to take two away goals into next week’s second leg in Monrovia.

Eswatini were also celebrating after demolishing Somalia 3-0 in the Moroccoan  city of El Jadida to put one foot in the group stage qualifiers.

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Striker Sabelo Ndzinisa was the hero, netting twice either side of Felicio Figuareido’s 40th minute opener for the visitors.

Somalia now face an uphill battle to qualify when they travel to the Mbombela Stadium in the South African city of Nelspruit for the return on March 26th.

The opening leg victories give Liberia and Eswatini a huge advantage heading into the second legs as they target a place in the group stage on the road to next year’s finals in Morocco.

Back from the locker room, Somalia still couldn’t play its game.

Worse, Eswatini widened the gap with Ginindza who scored his double of the evening in the 56th minute. 3-0, the score remained unchanged on the scoreboard until the final whistle.

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Victory for Eswatini which will still have to perform in the return leg to ensure its qualification for the qualifiers.

 

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Road to Morocco 2025 begins today

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

Following last month’s grand closing to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations held in Cote d’Ivoire where the hosts were crowned champions for the third time, Africa’s biggest competition is now shifting its focus to the 35th edition set to be held in Morocco next year.

A total of 52 Nations will be engaged to compete for a place in the 24-nation competition.

To mark the start of the qualifiers following the draw that was held in Cairo on 20 February 2024, eight lowest ranked nations will compete in the Preliminary Qualifiers starting on Wednesday, 20 March over a two-legged format that will decide the four nations that will join the other 44 African nations to make up the group stages of the qualifiers.

The CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 journey officially gets underway on Wednesday, 20 March with two fixtures as Somalia plays host to Eswatini, while Djibouti faces Liberia.

Two days later, Chad locks horns with Mauritius before Sao Tome and Principe takes on South Sudan.

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The return legs will conclude on Tuesday, 26 March with all matches set to take place on the day to officially decide the preliminary phase of the competition.

 

 AFCON Morocco 2025 Preliminary Qualifiers:

First Leg Fixtures:

Wednesday, 20 March 

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  • 18:00 GMT | Somalia – Eswatini
  • 22:00 GMT | Djibouti – Liberia

 

Friday, 22 March

  • 18:00 GMT | Chad – Mauritius
  • 19:00 GMT | Sao Tome and Principe – South Sudan

 

Return Leg Fixtures:

Tuesday, 26 March

  • 13:00 GMT | Eswatini – Somalia
  • 16:00 GMT | Liberia – Djibouti
  • 17:00 GMT | South Sudan – Sao Tome and Principe
  • 15:00 GMT | Mauritius – Chad
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