Ethiopia stun Egypt in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

Ethiopia stunned six-time African champions Egypt with a 2-0 win in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Elsewhere on Thursday Morocco, Nigeria, Mali and Guinea Bissau all had to come from behind to win their games.

Cameroon began their qualifying campaign with a narrow victory over Burundi while Guinea left it very late for to overcome Malawi.

Minnows Lesotho held the 2023 hosts Ivory Coast to a goalless draw and register their first point of the qualifiers.

Group D wide open

Playing without injured captain Mohamed Salah Egypt were shocked by Ethiopia, who won the Group D encounter 2-0.

Dawa Hotessa gave Ethiopia the lead after 21 minutes and then hit the woodwork soon after and then had a goal ruled out for offside.

The Ethiopians did add to their tally just before half-time as Egypt-based Shimelis Bekele was on target.

Despite having more of the possession the Pharaohs managed just three shots, only one of which was on target, which all came in the second-half.

The game was played in Malawi as Ethiopia do not have a stadium that can host international fixtures

Guinea left it very late to beat visitors Malawi in the other Group D game with Liverpool’s Naby Keita scoring the only goal of the game in injury time at the end of the match.

All four teams in the group now have three points each after the opening two rounds of fixtures.

Group K kicks off

Ayoub El Kaabi
Ayoub El Kaabi scored a late winner for Morocco against South Africa

In Group K Morocco also scored a later winner as they came from behind to edge out visiting South Africa 2-1.

Belgium-based Lyle Foster gave South Africa an early lead in Rabat as he controlled a long-ball over the top from debutant Sphephelo Sithole before firing home past Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou.

The goal spurred Morocco into action and they dominated the rest of the first-half and only some fine saves from Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Ronwen Williams let the score at 1-0 at the break.

The Atlas Lions finally made their pressure count in the 51st minute as Sevilla forward Youssef En Nesyri equalised.

South Africa looked like they would hold on for a share of the spoils until the 88th minute when Ayoub El Kaabi found a way past Williams for the winner.

This was the first game in Group K, which has been reduced to three teams, with two to qualify for the 2023 finals, after Zimbabwe were ruled out of the campaign as they serve a ban from global football.

Lesotho hold Elephants

Another surprise result came in Johannesburg as Lesotho held visiting 2023 hosts Ivory Coast to a goalless draw.

The Group H encounter was played in South Africa as Lesotho are another nation who do not have a stadium that meets the standards to host international games.

With Ivory Coast qualifying automatically for the 2023 finals as hosts it means just one team from Group H will progress.

Lesotho are still bottom of the pool with a single point but are now just two behind Zambia and Comoros, with all the teams having played twice.

Cameroon begin with a win

Cameroon's Karl Toko Ekambi celebrates a goal
A free-kick for Karl Toko Ekambi was enough for Cameroon to beat Burundi

Cameroon began their 2023 campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over ‘hosts’ Burundi, in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.

Lyon forward Karl Toko Ekambi secured the points for Cameroon with a well-taken free-kick that curled over the wall and past Jonathan Nahimana in the Burundi goal.

Burundi were unable to host the game as they are one of several nations who do not have a stadium that meets the regulations to host international matches.

The win for the Indomitable Lions puts them top of Group C, which was reduced to just three teams with two qualify for the finals after Kenya were ruled out of the campaign as their ban from global football continues.

Burundi have a single point from their two games so far after their 1-1 draw with Namibia on Saturday.

Mali leave it late

Mali's Aliou Dieng
Aliou Dieng scored in injury time for Mali as they beat South Sudan 3-1

Mali left it very late to come from behind to beat South Sudan 3-1 and avoid a shock result in Group G.

South Sudan took a surprise lead after 30 minutes in the match played in Uganda, with Rashid Toha forcing Kiki Kouyate to turn the ball into his own net.

RB Salzburg’s Mohamed Camara equalised on the hour mark and soon after striker Ibrahima Kone was brought on as a substitute but he was sent off for elbowing Toha 18 minutes later leaving Mali struggling.

South Sudan looked like they would hold on for a shock point before another Red Bull Salzburg player Sekou Koita and then Al Ahly’s Aliou Dieng both scored in injury time.

The comeback means after two games Mali are top of the group with a maximum six points and South Sudan bottom without a point.

The other two teams in the group are Congo-Brazzaville and The Gambia who both have three points.

Group A begins

Alex Iwobi in action for Nigeria
Everton’s Alex Iwobi scored the equaliser for Nigeria against Sierra Leone

Nigeria were made to work hard for a a win in their opening Group A game as they came from behind to beat Sierra Leone 2-1 on a poor pitch in Abuja.

Sierra Leone took an 11th minute lead as Greece-based Jonathan Morsay headed home and they could have been two goals up soon after but saw a shot rebound off the post.

Nigeria made the most of that lucky escape with Moses Simon setting up Everton’s Alex Iwobi to level the scores in the 16th minute.

Simon was involved again when the Super Eagles took the lead just before half-time as got his head to an Ola Aina cross from the right that fell to Victor Osimhen to fire home.

Unlike November 2020 when Nigeria gave up a 4-0 lead over Sierra Leone this time they held on for all three points in Jose Pesiero’s first competitive game in charge.

In the other opening Group A encounter Guinea-Bissau also went behind before recovering to thrash Sao Tome e Principe 5-1.

Sao Tome, who was only reinstated to the qualifiers eight days ago, took the lead through Edmilson Viegas after 21 minutes.

His goal was cancelled out by Alfa Semedo just before the half-time whistle.

After the break former Belgium youth international Zinho Gano scored twice, with substitutes Zidane Banjaqui and Jorginho completing the rout for Guinea-Bissau.

The game was played in the Moroccan city of Agadir as Guinea-Bissau do not have any stadia that can host international fixtures,

All four teams in Group A are in action again on Monday 13 June.

Upcoming Group A and K matches

Monday, 13 June

  • Sao Tome e Principe v Nigeria (Agadir,13:00) – Group A
  • Sierra Leone v Guinea-Bissau (Conakry, 16:00) – Group A
  • Liberia v Morocco (Casablanca, 19:00) – Group K

All kick-off times in GMT.

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