Senegal and Nigeria secure big wins in 2021 AFCON qualifiers

A hat-trick from Famara Diedhiou helped Senegal win 4-1 away to eSwatini as the second round of group games in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying got underway. In other matches on Sunday, in-form Lille striker Victor Osimhen struck twice to help Nigeria win 4-2 away to Lesotho. There were also wins for Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda, South Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea, Benin and 2021 Nations Cup hosts Cameroon.

Senegal, the 2019 Nations Cup runners-up, made it two wins from two in Group I in a match that was interrupted by a dramatic rain-storm in eSwatini. Diedhiou had a chance to give Senegal an early lead but the Bristol City striker missed a 10th minute penalty. He made amends in the second half in difficult conditions, scoring a quick-fire hat-trick with goals in the 59th, 66th and 68th minutes. In an eventful match, eSwatini came straight back with a 70th minute goal from Fganelo Mamba but Mamba was then sent off shortly after his strike for two bookings. Senegal took advantage and scored a fourth through Badou Ndiaye to make it 4-1 to the visitors. Congo Brazzaville are second in Group I, three points adrift of Senegal, after a 3-0 win over Guinea-Bissau. Goals from Prince Ibara, Junior Makiesse and Silvere Granvoula earned Congo the victory. In Group L, Nigeria survived a scare. For the second match running, the Super Eagles had to come from behind before winning 4-2 in Lesotho. Masoabi Nkoto gave the hosts a shock lead after just 11 minutes, but Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen put on an impressive display to inspire his team to victory. The in-form Lille striker set up goals for Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze and on a terrific day for the 20-year-old, Osimhen then scored twice to take the match away from Lesotho’s reach, although they did bag a late consolation goal when Chidozie Awaziem struck into his own net. Nigeria have maximum points in Group L. Earlier in this group, Benin, who lost to Nigeria in their opening match, were 1-0 winners over Sierra Leone at home. Jodel Dossou scored after 28 minutes to give Benin their first points of the campaign. Elsewhere, a brace from veteran striker Aristide Bance earned Burkina Faso a 2-1 victory away to South Sudan in Group B. Bance, 35, put The Stallions 1-0 up in the 20th minute and added a second five minutes before half-time with South Sudan grabbing a late consolation goal. Burkina Faso are second in Group B behind leaders Uganda who beat Malawi 2-0 in Kampala. A 29th minute goal from Al Ittihad player Emmanuel Okwi and a second-half strike from Fahad Bayo gave the Cranes the victory to leave them on four points from two group games, ahead of Burkina Faso on goal difference. Southampton midfielder Moussa Djenepo put Mali ahead in their 2-0 win away to Chad in Group A. His 14th minute strike was followed by a goal on the stroke of half-time from Mohamed Camara. Mali are level at the top of the group with Guinea on four points each after Guinea’s 2-0 win over Namibia in Conakry. On an emotional day, Guinea’s Issiaga Sylla – whose father died last week – opened the scoring in the 41st minute with Jose Kante making it 2-0 in the second half. There was also a first victory of the 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers for South Africa who beat Sudan 1-0 at home in Group C. A goal just before the break from Lebogang Phiri helped Bafana Bafana bounce back from their opening defeat to Ghana to secure the victory. The 2021 hosts Cameroon were 1-0 winners over Rwanda in Group F with Ngoumo Ngamaleu scoring the only goal. Gabon were set to host Angola in Group D in the late match on Sunday, with fixtures also scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The top two sides in 11 of the 12 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon. Cameroon qualify for the finals as hosts but are taking part in the qualifying campaign to gain competitive match practice which means just one team from Group F will progress to the finals.

Sunday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations results:

  • Benin 1-0 Sierra Leone (Group L)
  • Chad 0-2 Mali (Group A)
  • Eswatini 1-4 Senegal (Group I)
  • South Africa 1-0 Sudan (Group C)
  • South Sudan 1-2 Burkina Faso (Group B)
  • Uganda 2-0 Malawi (Group B)
  • Congo 3-0 Guinea Bissau (Group I)
  • Guinea 2-0 Namibia (Group A)
  • Lesotho 2-4 Nigeria (Group L)
  • Rwanda 0-1 Cameroon (Group F)
  • Gabon v Angola (Group D)

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