Senegal advance in WC qualifiers, fans return to South Africa

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – Senegal became the first team to advance to the final round of the World Cup qualifiers in Africa after Famara Diedhiou’s hat trick secured a 3-1 victory over Namibia on Tuesday.

Sadio Mane provided the crosses for Diedhiou’s first and third goals at Orlando Stadium in South Africa and Senegal’s fourth win in four games secured top spot in Group H with two games remaining. This secured Senegal a place in next year’s deciding qualifiers which will decide the five African teams at the World Cup in Qatar.

A short distance away in Johannesburg, South Africa beat Ethiopia 1-0 to cheer on returning supporters and keep Bafana Bafana ahead of Ghana in the race to move up from Group G. Only the 10 group winners will participate. in the playoffs.

South Africa allowed 2,000 supporters to attend the match at FNB Stadium, the first time spectators have been allowed to attend a major sporting event in the country since the start of the pandemic. South Africa came out on top thanks to a home goal from Getane Kebedeh, who managed a clearing attempt into his own net.

Ghana are only one point behind South Africa after a second victory over Zimbabwe in the space of four days. Thomas Partey’s 31st minute free kick passed through the hands of goalkeeper Talbert Shumba, who then used his hands to cover his face. Ghana won 1-0.

This gave new coach Milovan Rajevac a second consecutive victory to start his second term at the helm of Ghana. Rajevac was a coach when Ghana reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, the last African team to go this far.

The squad now sits between South Africa and Ghana – with Ethiopia and Zimbabwe not in contention – and they will meet in the finals of matches next month.

African champions Algeria, who beat Niger 4-0 on Tuesday after beating the same team 6-1 last week, are also on track for the playoffs, although not quite there.

Algeria were woken up early when Niger hit the post in the 10th minute. Riyad Mahrez gave Algeria the lead by sweeping a Baghdad Bounedjah cross 10 minutes later and Mahrez returned the favor to place Bounedjah for fourth. In between, Aissa Mandi and Ismael Bennacer were also on target and Algeria put the game to bed with four goals in the space of 34 minutes – two before half-time and two just after.

Algeria have scored 19 goals in their four group matches but are tied for the top of Group A with Burkina Faso. The two sides drew 1-1 when they met last month and will likely play the deciding game in Algeria next month.

If Algeria does not succeed, it will be a big surprise.

Tunisia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali and Egypt all lead their groups and are well on their way. Tanzania, which has never participated in the World Cup, narrowly leads Group J in goals scored ahead of Benin.

Morocco will follow Senegal in the playoffs if they beat Guinea later on Tuesday.

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