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Fulham outcast Kamara’s goal leads Mauritania to road victory and AFCON qualification at Central African Republic

Having only made his international debut for Mauritania four days earlier, French-born striker Aboubakar Kamara delivered in the clutch with a goal in first-half stoppage time to help send the West African nation to their second straight Africa Cup of Nations. The 1-0 road victory over Central African Republic helped Mauritania to retain second place in Group E, clinching their ticket to the AFCON along with group winners Morocco. The Atlas Lions also won 1-0 over Burundi in the later match that became a dead rubber following Mauritania’s victory.

Central African Republic did brilliantly to keep their hopes alive with a road draw at Burundi on Friday but squandered an opportunity to steal qualification with a win at home. Mauritania’s strong defense that notably held Morocco to a 0-0 draw on the road popped up again to lock down the opposition attack and picked their moment to find the winner right before halftime. Ismail Diakite found space on the right side of the penalty area to cut back a perfect low cross for Kamara to apply the finish.

Morocco’s victory featured the first international goal for Sevilla forward Munir El Haddadi whose long struggle to represent the Atlas Lions appears to be worth the wait. Tidy midfield play from Adel Taarabt in the 45th minute led to the Benfica midfielder setting up Munir on the edge of the Burundian penalty area to fire past goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana. The Moroccans generally had the better of the match and could have won by a greater margin but poor finishing denied Burundi on a couple of choice opportunities to steal points.

Highlights of both matches are below.

Central African Republic 0-1 Mauritania (Aboubakar Kamara goal)

Morocco 1-0 Burundi (for USA/Canada readers)

Morocco 1-0 Burundi (for international readers)

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