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Madagascar and Tanzania draw in Antananarivo to wrap up WCQ campaign

A passionate home crowd in the Malagasy capital of Antananarivo witnessed a 1-1 draw between hosts Madagascar and Tanzania on Sunday in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Both teams were already eliminated from contention for the final round but that did not dampen the enthusiasm and pride both teams played with in a tightly contested match. Wydad Casablanca forward Simon Msuva opened the scoring for Tanzania before a late rally from the hosts saw Hakim Abdallah level the score in the second half.

In an even match, the first half was closely contested with multiple opportunities for both sides. In the 5th minute, the hosts came close when Ibrahim Amada found space for a shot from distance and sent his effort off the crossbar and clear. Tanzania had their first look at goal in the 22nd minute when a through ball from Msuva found Simba SC striker John Bocco, who got around Malagasy goalkeeper Melvin Adrien but could not direct his finish into the empty net from a tough angle out wide.

A few minutes after Bocco’s miss, however, the Taifa Stars were able to get on the board through Msuva. The pacey forward got behind from a Feisal Salum pass and kept his cool as he finished low with a left footed shot past Adrien and just inside the far post. Madagascar nearly equalized a few minutes before the halftime break but were denied by a diving save from Tanzania keeper Metacha Mnata after Loïc Lapoussin’s free kick found Abdallah for a header on goal.

Lapoussin continued to be heavily involved in Madagascar’s attempts to equalize after halftime. The Union Saint-Gilloise midfielder did excellently to create space out wide and provided another cross to Abdallah, but the forward’s header was collected by Mnata. The Lapoussin-Abdallah connection would eventually find success for the hosts when they equalized in the 74th minute. Another Lapoussin free kick from out wide deflected through the box to Abdallah, who connected with a volley that Mnata got a hand to, but not enough to keep the ball from going into the goal.

Both teams had chances in the final ten minutes, but a free kick from Tanzania’s Novartus Dismas rebounded back off the cross bar in the 85th minute. A couple of minutes later it was Madagascar’s turn to almost obtain the lead, but after Paulin Voavy twisted and turned to create room on the right side of the Tanzanian penalty area, his deflected cross went temptingly across the goal mouth with nobody able to get a finishing touch on the ball.

Highlights from the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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