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Favourites overcome scares to advance in CAF World Cup Qualifiers
The 20 team list for the final phase of CAF World Cup 2018 Qualifiers was finalized on Tuesday night.
Despite a few surprise results from the first leg, ultimately, there were no major casualties. All the teams expected to proceed did so.
Powerhouse trio; Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, all drew their first legs away to ‘minnows’ but sailed through with home wins. Nigeria and Ghana drew 0-0 to Swaziland and Comoros respectively before each won 2-0 at home with late second goals. Senegal beat Madagascar 3-0 in Dakar to advance 5-2 on aggregate.
Mohamed Koffi’s Burkina Faso and Mali also advanced with identical results. Both lost 2-1 away then won 2-0 at home against Botswana and Benin respectively.
Ivory Coast had no such scares as they saw off Liberia 1-0 away and 3-0 at home to progress. Zambia and Guinea also advanced unscathed over Sudan and Namibia respectively. Uganda did a double over Togo, as well, and will be the only Eastern African team in the third round.
South Africa and Congo wrapped up their contests with healthy score-lines in the first leg. The South Africans overcame, regional rivals, Angola 3-1 while Congo handed Ethiopia a 4-3 home defeat. Both finished the job at home with 1-0 and 2-1 wins respectively.
Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo won away but could only draw at home as they advanced over Niger and Burundi. Meanwhile, Morocco and Cape Verde were involved in closer contests than anticipated. Both won 2-0 at home but lost by solitary goals away to Equatorial Guinea and Kenya.
Gabon was the only team that progressed through the spotkicks after 1-0 home wins for them and their opponents; Mozambique.
The 20 teams will be drawn in five groups of four with the first placed teams booking a spot at the 2018 World Cup. The date for the group draw is yet to be confirmed.