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AFCON Qualifying Recap Matchday 3: Groups G-L

It was an exciting return to competitive action for CAF’s national teams as qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations resumed. There were some thrilling matches and plenty of outstanding goals for the highlight reel. Here is part two of Pan-Africa Football’s comprehensive recap of the third matchday.

Group G

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Matchday 3 Results

Kenya 1-1 Comoros  (Highlights)
Egypt 1-0 Togo  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Comoros v Kenya on 15 November
Togo v Egypt on 17 November

Player of the Round

Ali Ahamada- Comoros (Brann [NOR])

Observations

Goalkeeper Ali Ahamada helped surprise package Comoros secure a valuable point on the road against Kenya with a standout performance. In the big picture, heavy group favorites Egypt have awoken with their first victory against Togo. The Pharoahs have yet to look convincing, and the loss of Mohamed Salah due to Covid-19 this week has upped the tension. However, their form should only improve as none of their opponents are particularly intimidating. The battle for the second spot continues to edge closer and closer to overachievers Comoros.

Group H

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Matchday 3 Results

Zambia 2-1 Botswana  (Highlights)
Algeria 3-1 Zimbabwe  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Zimbabwe v Algeria on 16 November
Botswana v Zambia on 17 November

Player of the Round

Riyad Mahrez- Algeria (Manchester City [ENG])

Observations

Algeria star Riyad Mahrez sealed the Desert Foxes’ victory over Zimbabwe with a silky goal and slick playmaking. Despite the defeat, Zimbabwe had some good moments in the attack and could get a result in the return match at home if they can clean the defensive errors up. Zambia desperately needed a win and got it despite the match being unnecessarily close. They will expect to go to Botswana and get a win to put the pressure on Zimbabwe. The odds were always going to be against the Zebras of Botswana with many of their players nowhere close to match fitness, and the next match at home will require a positive result.

Group I

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Matchday 3 Results

Senegal 2-0 Guinea-Bissau  (Highlights)
Republic of Congo 2-0 Eswatini  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Guinea-Bissau v Senegal on 15 November
Eswatini v Republic of Congo on 17 November

Player of the Round

Sadio Mané- Senegal (Liverpool [ENG])

Observations

It was a valiant effort from Guinea-Bissau, but superstar Sadio Mané clinically punished their mistakes with a penalty kick goal and assist in the Teranga Lions victory. Guinea-Bissau will need to come out strong at home against Africa’s top ranked team, or they will have no margin for error in their remaining matches. Republic of Congo dispatched modest Eswatini, and will be expecting a win in the return match to put themselves in a strong position to qualify.

Group J

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Matchday 3 Results

Libya 2-3 Equatorial Guinea  (Highlights)
Tunisia 1-0 Tanzania  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Equatorial Guinea v Libya on 15 November
Tanzania v Tunisia on 17 November

Player of the Round

Pedro Obiang- Equatorial Guinea (West Ham United [ENG])

Observations

Equatorial Guinea scoring two goals in stoppage time to get a 3-2 victory over Libya was easily the match of the week until the legendary Nigeria-Sierra Leone match. Pedro Obiang has been a crucial element in the young team, and delivered an absolute screamer to equalize the match. Obiang will grab the headlines, but José Machín, known as Pepín, added a creative presence in the center of midfield as well that deserves mention. The dramatic win suddenly puts Equatorial Guinea in the driver’s seat to claim second place and qualification. In the other match, Tanzania’s attack failed to threaten without star striker Mbwana Samatta as group favorites Tunisia hummed along to an easy 1-0 victory. Being group winners looks a certainty for Tunisia, while Tanzania need to figure out how to generate more opportunities in the return match.

Group K

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Matchday 3 Results

Ivory Coast 2-1 Madagascar  (Highlights)
Niger 1-0 Ethiopia  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Madagascar v Ivory Coast on 17 November
Ethiopia v Niger on 17 November

Player of the Round

Sebastien Haller- Ivory Coast (West Ham United [ENG])

Observations

Ivory Coast secured an important win over upstarts Madagascar in Abidjan, and it will be interesting to see if the Elephants can assert themselves in Madagascar. Sebastien Haller played the role of super-sub on his debut, with the tall and strong forward’s frame giving defenders problems and Haller bagging a debut goal. Neither Niger or Ethiopia look like they have the potential to grab a qualification spot. Ethiopian supporters see the 1-0 defeat in Niamey as points lost, with the Walias’ finishing looking woeful. Both teams will see the return match in Ethiopia as an essential chance for three points.

Group L

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Matchday 3 Results

Nigeria 4-4 Sierra Leone  (Highlights)
Benin 1-0 Lesotho  (Highlights)

Matchday 4 Fixtures

Sierra Leone v Nigeria on 17 November
Lesotho v Benin on 17 November

Player of the Round

Alhaji Kamara- Sierra Leone (Randers FC [DEN])

Observations

Thirty minutes into the first half of Nigeria’s match with Sierra Leone, a four-goal lead made this group look like it was going to be all but settled after the first tie this week. What happened next was a shock for the ages, as the Leone Stars pulled off a miraculous comeback to earn a 4-4 draw. The bad news was furthered for Nigeria when star Victor Osimhen left the field in severe pain with a dislocated shoulder. The Super Eagles will need to regain their focus, as the defense in particular completely lost their way. Benin took care of business with a victory that they will look to add to in Lesotho. Lesotho had some moments that suggest they could be a challenge in the return, but are long shots to remain in the picture for qualification.

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