Titleholders Ivory Coast cleared a header off their goal line in stoppage time to hang on to a 1-1 draw with Sierra Leone on Saturday to squeeze into the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Jonathan Kodjia scored via a bicycle-kick after 35 minutes for the Ivorians before a sell-out 25,000 crowd in Bouake, but Kei Kamara equalized on 67 minutes with a glancing header following a free-kick.
It was Kamara, back after a self-imposed one-year exile having accused Sierra Leone officials of disrespecting him, who almost took his country to the finals after a 20-year absence.
Sierra Leone were awarded a corner five minutes into stoppage time, but a far-post Kamara header was cleared off the line.
Ivory Coast qualified for a seventh straight Cup of Nations by winning Group 1 with six points after drawing twice against Sierra Leone and taking four points off Sudan.
Sierra Leone finished with five points and Sudan with four.
Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe secured places ahead of the final round and Gabon are automatic participants as hosts.
Another 14 matches were scheduled for yesterday with the remaining five places up for grabs.
Ethiopia fell behind against Seychelles in Hawassa before goals from Getaneh Kebede and Saladin Said either side of halftime brought a 2-1 win and hope of qualification as one of the best two runners-up.
It was the sixth goal of the qualifying campaign for Kebede in Group J and moved him to the top of the scorers charts.
Fouad al-Triki scored a late goal as Libya shocked Cape Verde 1-0 in a Group F match interrupted when a dog wandered onto the pitch in Praia.
Defeat eliminated Cape Verde, who were briefly ranked No.1 in Africa this year and had been seeking a third consecutive Cup of Nations appearance.
A brilliant goal from Manchester City teenager Kelechi Iheanacho on 78 minutes earned already-eliminated Nigeria a 1-0 Group G win over Tanzania in Uyo.
The Super Eagles took a short corner and the striker moved across the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a left-foot thunderbolt into the roof of the net.
Group H winners Ghana lacked numerous first choices, including Andre “Dede” Ayew and Asamoah Gyan, and were held 1-1 in Accra by Rwanda.
Samuel Tettah put the Black Stars ahead midway through the opening half with a low shot and Muhadjir Hakizimana leveled off a free-kick seven minutes from time.
Mozambique jumped from fourth to second in the same mini-league after a last-gasp goal earned a 1-0 win over Mauritius in Maputo.
Cameroon cruised to a 2-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Group M team Gambia in Limbe.
Benjamin Moukandjo converted a first-half penalty for a foul on Karl Toko Ekambi, who scored the second goal soon after halftime.
A dismal run by Angola in Group B extended to five matches without a win when they were held 1-1 by Madagascar in Luanda.
Bapasy put the visitors ahead during the opening half with a glancing header off a corner and Gelson leveled nine minutes into the second half.
Senegal finished with a perfect Group K record thanks to a predictable 2-0 win over Namibia in Dakar through goals from Balde Keita and Famara Diedhiou.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there