Algeria edge closer to play-off spot in African World Cup qualifying

6 months ago 3317
Sofiane Feghouli in action for AlgeriaGalatasaray midfielder Sofiane Feghouli captained Algeria against Djibouti, with Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez on the bench

Algeria moved a step closer to qualifying for Africa's play-offs for the 2022 World Cup after a comfortable 4-0 win over Djibouti.

The Desert Foxes, who extended their unbeaten run to 32 games, have a two-point lead over Burkina Faso in Group A after the west Africans drew with Niger.

Algeria know a point will be enough to wrap up top spot when they host the Burkinabe on Tuesday.

However, the Stallions can leapfrog the Africa Cup of Nations holders and qualify themselves if they can pull off an upset and win in Blida.

Mali, Morocco and Senegal have already qualified for the play-offs next March, which will decide which five nations represent Africa in Qatar.

Benrahma nets as Algeria turn on style

Algeria named Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani among the substitutes for their match against Djibouti in Cairo, but were firmly in control of the contest by half-time.

Youcef Belaili missed a first-half penalty, seeing his low effort saved, but immediately redeemed himself to put the north Africans ahead just before the half-hour mark.

Belaili collected a flick on from Baghdad Bounedjah and advanced into the box before cutting inside and netting a right-footed shot.

West Ham forward Said Benrahma doubled the lead with a shot from just outside the box - his first international goal - and captain Sofiane Feghouli quickly added a third with an effort which Djibouti keeper Innocent Mboni Hankuye spilled.

Mahrez and Slimani came off the bench at half-time and the Lyon striker added a late fourth to put the gloss on Algeria's victory.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso paid the price after losing home advantage for their tie against Niger, with their stadium deemed unfit to host qualifiers.

Forced to play in Marrakech instead, Youssef Oumarou put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot 11 minutes before the break after Daniel Sosah was fouled.

Burkina Faso captain Issoufou Dayo equalised through a penalty 10 minutes after the restart. Zakaria Sanogo and Dayo both went close to a winner but the Stallions had to settle for a 1-1 draw instead.

Egypt eye win to clinch play-off spot

Elsewhere, Mohamed Salah's Egypt could qualify for the play-offs later on Friday.

Gabon and Libya both need a win to stay in contention when they meet in Franceville at 16:00 GMT, while Egypt know victory over Angola in Luanda at 19:00 GMT will see them win Group F.

There are also two dead rubbers in Group I after Morocco secured top spot last month with two games to spare.

Guinea entertain Guinea-Bissau and Morocco face an 'away' game against Sudan in Rabat, with Sudanese stadia not suitable for international football.

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