Five teams qualified for the upcoming tournament as the long-awaited ties discovered their winners on Tuesday.
The second leg of the African World Cup qualifiers took place on Tuesday. Roughly a month after the Africa Cup of Nations, football fever once again swept through the continent as teams locked horns with their opponents in the final step toward the World Cup.
Let’s take a look at what happened during the final games of Africa’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Senegal qualify for World Cup as Mane beats Salah again!
Liverpool teammates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah faced off as Egypt came into the game being 1-0 ahead on aggregate. The Pharaohs hoped to avenge their penalty-shootout defeat against Senegal in the AFCON final.
However, Carlos Queiroz’s men soon realized they were are up for an extremely tough task against Mane and co. Overwhelming laser work by Senegal fans started right from the beginning as the hosts got an early opener through Hamdi Fathi’s own goal.
Senegal came close to scoring the tie-winner several times. However, after 120 minutes of dominating the game, the Lions of Teranga had to edge out their opponents in a penalty shoot-out.
Mohamed Salah smashed his penalty over the bar before Mane scored a game-winning spot-kick to send the Lions of Teranga to the World Cup.
Chaos after Nigeria fails to defeat Ghana on home soil
Nigeria held Ghana to a goalless draw in the first leg of their tie last Friday. Based on their form, the Super Eagles were the favourites to win the second leg at home.
However, an early opener from Thomas Partey in the tenth minute shocked the hosts at the Abuja National Stadium. The Super Eagles equalized the result through William Troost-Ekong’s penalty 12 minutes later. But they were not able to find the winner as Ghana maintained their defensive integrity throughout the game.
All the hell broke loose when the referee blew the final whistle, and Ghana qualified for the World Cup. Angry Nigerian fans stormed onto the pitch, clashing with the security guards of the stadium. According to Nigerian outlets, the pitch invasion resulted in the death of the game’s doping officer, Dr Joseph Kabungo.
A sensational last-minute winner sends Cameroon to World Cup!
A crucial 1-0 win in Cameroon made Algeria the big favourites to secure the World Cup spot after the first leg. The Fennecs, however, made a poor start to the game on Tuesday, letting Cameroon establish their dominance early on.
A goal from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting revived Cameroon’s hopes of a comeback as the game went to extra time. The Mustapha Tcharker Stadium exploded when Ahmed Touba scored for Algeria in the 118th minute.
But then it was time for Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi to ruin Algeria’s World Cup dreams with a sensational last-minute winner. The Indomitable Lions qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 2014 as Algeria suffered another setback after their disappointing AFCON campaign.
North African giants maintain their first-leg leads to secure World Cup spots
North Africa’s main football powerhouse, Egypt, failed to qualify for the World Cup. But, the region will have two sides representing it in the upcoming tournament.
Tunisia, who had beaten Mali 1-0 in the first leg, clinched a goalless draw to secure the qualification. The Eagles of Carthage did not let their opponents register a single shot on target as they completed their tie-winning smash and grab plan.
In Morocco, the Atlas Lions cruised past Congo to qualify for the World Cup as the second north-African side. A 4-1 win in the second leg (5-2 on aggregate) showcased Morocco’s impressive firepower as Vahid Halilhodžić’s side continued their promising form ahead of the Qatar games.