Mozambique kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 thanks to a hard-fought 2-0 away victory against Rwanda on Sunday.
The victory, courtesy of goals by Geny Catamo in the first half, as well as the final strike by Clesio Baugue in the dying minutes of the game meant that Amavubi hopes of securing a place in Africa’s flagship competition next year were completely shattered by the Mambas.
As expected, the hosts started off well as they pinned their opponents into their half in an attempt to get an early lead.
The deadlock was almost broken as early as the 5th minute when defender, Mutsinzi Ange rose above his markers to head a powerful effort that was met by an equally good save by Ivane Urrubal.
The visitors opted to absorb the pressure with the intention of pouncing on the counter and were almost rewarded in the 13th minute with Stanley Ratifo’s ferocious strike was parried to safety by an alert Ntwari Fiacre.
The hosts were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the 36th minute after a well taken strike by the dangerous Nshuti Innocent was tipped onto the woodwork to the relief of the Mambas.
Rwanda’s relentless attacks came at an unfortunate price after a swift break in transition by the Mozambiquans through a delightful ball by the ever-green Elias Pelembe found Catamo, who did well to bring it under control and fire into the far post to send his side into the break with the lead.
Rwandan playmaker, Hakizimana Muhadjiri almost levelled matters in the 85th minute after doing well to connect with a well taken cross but his near post header found Urrubal on high alert as he made the save.
As they continued searching for the equalizer, the Mambas sat back and yet again punished Rwanda after substitute, Clesio Baugue capitalized on some casual defending from Manzi Thierry to drive into the box and get the second to dash the hosts’ hopes of qualifying to next year’s continental showpiece.
Meanwhile in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania welcomed Niger to the National Stadium in a highly entertaining Group F encounter where Simon Msuva ensured the hosts remain in contention for a place in Cote D’Ivoire next year as his solitary strike handed his side the much-needed victory.
The hosts started off the stronger side with the backing of the supporters as Mudathir Yahya almost found the opener in the fifth minute but saw his shot blocked by the keeper.
Knowing that an early goal would help settle the nerves, the Taifa Stars kept piling on the pressure in search of the opener but found a very stubborn Niger side who held their ground.
It was only later in the second half where the hosts were eventually rewarded for their unwavering efforts, when Msuva found the all-important goal to send the home supporters into a frenzy with the only goal of the match.
Elsewhere, Ghana’s hopes of qualifying for the next edition of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations were put on hold as they were held to a goalless draw by Madagascar at the Berea Stadium in Antananarivo on Sunday.
The Black Stars needed a victory to secure their place in the tournament held in Cote D’Ivoire, but the determined Malagasy team stood firm to deny them.
Ghana started strongly, creating their first opportunity from a free kick whipped in by Jordan Ayew, which Madagascar dealt with smartly.
The hosts threatened with a cross from Dorian Bertrand, but it found no one in the box.
The second half saw Madagascar pushing to break the deadlock, but Ghana’s defense held firm. Thomas Partey forced a save from the Madagascar goalkeeper with a set piece.
Manager Chris Hughton introduced Ernest Nuamah for Kamal Deen Sulemana and Osman Bukari for Joseph Painstil, but neither could find the decisive goal.
Despite Ghana’s continued pressure, Madagascar resorted to ball retention and time wasting as the game came to an end.
The goalless draw means Ghana will now need a victory in their final game against Central African Republic in September to secure their qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire.
Source: CAF Online