Thu, Sep 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

FIFA: Egypt beat Uganda to edge closer to World Cup return

AFP, JOHANNESBURG

African giants Egypt on Tuesday moved closer to a first FIFA World Cup appearance since 1990 by defeating Uganda 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah.

A near-capacity crowd in the 85,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, saw the June signing from AS Roma strike just six minutes into the Group E clash.

Salah sneaked behind the defense and after goalkeeper Denis Onyango parried his first attempt, he poked the rebound into the net to decide the top-of-the-table showdown.

It was the first goal conceded by Uganda in 456 minutes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia after five consecutive clean sheets.

Egypt created most of the chances, only to be regularly thwarted by last year’s Africa Footballer of the Year Onyango.

The Pharaohs host the Republic of the Congo next month and visit third-place Ghana in November, and two victories will ensure they qualify.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey scored a hat-trick as Ghana kept faint hopes of a fourth straight World Cup appearance alive with a 5-1 thrashing of the Congo in Brazzaville.

Egypt have nine points after four rounds, Uganda seven, Ghana five and the Congo just one.

Although Egypt have been the dominant African soccer force, winning the Africa Cup of Nations a record seven times, they have consistently struggled in the World Cup, qualifying only twice.

Group C leaders Ivory Coast suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Gabon, but the damage was lessened by second-placed Morocco only drawing 0-0 with Mali in Bamako.

Axel Meye and recent Southampton recruit Mario Lemina scored within 10 minutes in the first half for Gabon, who crumbled 3-0 at home to Ivory Coast three days ago.

Maxwel Cornet halved the deficit on 56 minutes, but the Elephants could not find an equalizer in Bouake, Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast have seven points, Morocco six, Gabon five and Mali two, with the final-round clash of the top two nations set to decide who goes to Russia.

South Africa also suffered a shock home defeat, losing 2-1 to Cape Verde for the second time in five days, this time at home in Durban.

Garry Rodrigues scored twice in the second half, from a free-kick and a shot outside the box, before substitute Andile Jali snatched a late consolation goal.

The defeat dropped South Africa to the bottom of Group D, which is headed by Burkina Faso following a dramatic 2-2 draw with Senegal in Ouagadougou.

Bertrand Traore gave Burkina Faso an early lead, only for a goal in each half from Ismaila Sarr and Liverpool star Sadio Mane to turn the tide.

However, substitute Senegal goalkeeper Pape N’Diaye conceded an own-goal in the final minute of regular time to keep Burkina Faso on top of a tight table.

They and Cape Verde have six points, Senegal five and South Africa four with two days of play remaining.

Tunisia retained a three-point lead over the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) in Group A after coming from two goals behind in Kinshasa to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Goals from captain Chancel Mbemba and Paul Jose Mpoku had put the Leopards in control soon after halftime, but they fell apart in the closing stages.

Tunisia have 10 points, DR Congo seven and out-of-contention Guinea and Libya three.

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