Algeria becomes second side to book Cup of Nations berth

Algeria remained on track to defend its Africa Cup of Nations title as it sealed its spot in the 24-team field for the finals.

Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez scored a stunning goal in Algeria's 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe on Monday.   -  Twitter @Mahrez22 / File Image

Defending champion Algeria booked its place in the finals of Africa Cup of Nations, while the continent's youngest country, South Sudan, pulled off a rare win on Monday.

Algeria join Senegal, which qualified on Sunday, in the 24-team field for the finals, to be held in Cameroon in early 2022, after a 2-2 draw in Harare against Zimbabwe. The result guaranteed Algeria a top-two finish in Group H.

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Algeria dropped its first points of the campaign despite opening the scoring though Andy Delort and Riyad Mahrez, who netted within four minutes of each other.

 

Knowledge Musona pulled a goal back just before half-time and Zimbabwe equalised through substitute Prince Dube with eight minutes remaining. Algeria has 10 points while second-placed Zimbabwe is on five.

Botswana upset Zambia 1-0 in the other group game to move up to third on four points and leave the 2012 African champion last in the group.

South Sudan, which has only been independent since 2011, took a first major scalp with 1-0 victory over Uganda in Nairobi.

South Sudan had to move the game to Kenya because its own stadium is not fit for international football but overcame the disadvantage to win from Tito Okello's 36th minute penalty. The side, however, remains bottom of Group B. Burkina Faso leads the group after a goalless draw against Malawi.

 

Gambia, seeking a first ever place at the finals, kept up its hopes with a 2-1 home win over Gabon at the end of an eventful day.

Gabon players arrived at the stadium having spent the night sleeping on the floor of the airport after being told they could not leave the airport because of an administrative problem. They were allowed to leave on Monday morning after government intervention. Both countries have seven points in Group D.

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Hosts Cameroon is participating in the preliminaries and won 2-0 in Mozambique where Vincent Aboubakar scored just minutes after the home side spurned a penalty when Reginaldos effort hit the post. Serge Tabekou added a second.

South Africa laboured to a 4-2 home win over tiny Sao Tome e Principe but now has nine points from four games in Group C while Congo moved closer to qualifying from Group I after a goalless draw in Eswatini.

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