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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying: Madagascar stunned by Central African Republic in Antananarivo

Madagascar suffered a crushing 3-0 defeat at the hands of an efficient Central African Republic side on Thursday in Group E action from qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Louis Mafouta scored twice for Les Fauves after Isaac Ngoma opened the scoring late in the first half for the visitors, moving Central African Republic level on four points with Ghana and Angola who play later today. With only one point through three matches and two out of their three remaining matches away from home it is a long journey back into contention for a spot in Ivory Coast.

Central African Republic coach Raoul Savoy convinced captain Geoffrey Kondogbia to return to the team and put out a strong eleven that defended well against the quick Malagasy attack. After the teams were even through the opening thirty minutes some clinical finishing put Les Fauves up two goals by halftime. Ngoma finished in the 36th minute after the Malagasy defense failed to clear a cross and then Mafouta finished past Madagascar goalkeeper Razakanirina Rakotohasimbola to deliver a crushing blow just before halftime.

The hosts failed to push after halftime and Central African Republic held on to their lead without too much trouble. Mafouta finished low past Rakotohasimbola from a low cross in the 79th minute to confirm an excellent victory for Les Fauves, their first competitive away victory since defeating Nigeria 1-0 in a 2021 AFCON qualifying match in Lagos.

Highlights of the match are below.