Nigeria once again lost ground to Egypt in their quest to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Trezeguet gave Egypt a 2-0 victory over nine-man Sierra Leone with a goal in each half.
In the meantime, Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho headed in a second-half equalizer for the visitors as Nigeria and Zimbabwe drew 1-1 on the road.
In other news, Sudan upset the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while Algeria and Gabon maintained their perfect records.
With all group winners securing a spot in the competition, Africa is guaranteed nine qualifiers for the 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
Mohamed Salah scored four goals in Egypt’s 6-0 home victory over Djibouti in their Group A opener. The Liverpool forward also contributed to both of the Pharaohs’ goals against Sierra Leone.
In the eighteenth minute, Mostafa Mohamed flicked on a ball from Salah, and Trezeguet was there to chest down and slide home.
Sullay Kaikai came dangerously close to tying the score with a shot that went wide of the post, but Derby County midfielder Tyrese Fornah’s straight red card seven minutes before halftime for a high boot on Hamdi Fathi made things more difficult for Sierra Leone.
Just after the hour mark in Monrovia, Liberia, Trezeguet, who currently plays for Trabzonspor in Turkey, made it 2-0 when he latched on to a through ball from Salah and his effort looped in over the goalkeeper after deflecting off a defender.
And when defender Abdul Kabia received a second yellow card for a cynical foul on Omar Marmoush deep into injury time, the Leone Stars were reduced to nine men in the end.
In their opening Group C match on Thursday, November 16, 2023, minnows Lesotho held Nigeria to a draw, and once again, Nigeria’s attack against Zimbabwe was lackluster.
In Butare, Rwanda, in the 26th minute, Walter Musona stunned the Super Eagles with a spectacular 35-yard free kick that flew past Francis Uzoho and into the upper right corner.
However, after Zimbabwean goalkeeper Bernard Donovan was sent off for receiving a back pass, Southampton’s Joe Aribo saw his attempt from the ensuing indirect free-kick cleared off the line, giving the West Africans a near-equalizer.
Iheanacho’s cut-back from Moses Simon gave Nigeria a point midway through the second half, but Zimbabwe had the better chances to win it, with Teenage Hadebe hooking over, Divine Lunga heading wide, and Tanaka Shandirwa blasting off target.
With Nigeria on just two points after two games—one point behind Group C leaders South Africa, who play in Rwanda on Tuesday, November 14, 2023—pressure on manager Jose Peseiro may increase.
Fares Chaibi and Ramiz Zerrouki goals in the second half saw off the hosts, who had the better of play going into halftime. Algeria defeated an energetic and adventurous Mozambique team 2-0 in Maputo.
At the stroke of half-time, Algerian forward Amine Gouiri’s curling effort was tipped onto the right-hand upright after solid efforts from Stanley Ratifo and Mexer.
The North Africans went three points clear at the top of Group G with a clinical finish across goal from Ramiz Zerrouki with ten minutes remaining, following a calm opener from Chaibi in the 69th minute after Mohamed Amoura had struck the woodwork.
With a 2-1 victory in Group F away against Burundi in neutral Dar es Salaam, Gabon also made it two wins from two.
With seven minutes remaining, Denis Bouanga made it 2-0 by scoring into an empty net from 45 yards out after goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana’s attempted clearance fell to him. Jim Allevinah had given the Panthers the lead in the 35th minute with a cut-back.
With three minutes remaining, Abedi Bigirimana volleyed in to cut the lead, but Gabon held on to take the lead in Group F.
Concurrently, Sudan maintained their perfect record in Group B, defeating DR Congo 1-0 in Benghazi, Libya, thanks to an own goal.
With 11 minutes remaining, midfielder Charles Pickel’s rebounded shot from a corner caused Leopards goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi to mishandle his clearing punch, allowing the ball to enter the net.
On Monday, the 12 teams competing in the Africa qualifiers included Mali and the Ivory Coast.