World Cup 2022: Cameroon and Ivory Coast qualifying battle to go to the wire

2 weeks ago 352
Cameroon celebrate Vincent Aboubakar's goal against MalawiCameroon, who host the Africa Cup of Nations in January, missed out on a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Cameroon's battle with Ivory Coast for one 2022 World Cup play-off spot will go down to the final round of qualifying matches after the Indomitable Lions brushed aside 10-man Malawi.

Cameroon are two points above their west African rivals in Group I after goals from captain Vincent Aboubakar, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Christian Bassogog's double secured a 4-0 win.

However, Ivory Coast can regain top spot with victory against Mozambique later on Saturday (19:00 GMT).

The Elephants travel to Cameroon for a showdown on Tuesday, with only the group winners progressing to next March's play-offs.

Both countries failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Senegal have already secured their places in the play-offs, where Africa's five representatives in Qatar will be decided.

Indomitable Lions win as Onana returns

Cameroon's game against Malawi took place in Johannesburg, with the Malawians among several countries whose home stadia are unfit to host qualifiers.

The Flames were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half when John Banda was shown a straight red card for handling on the goal line.

Aboubakar scored from the resulting penalty and midfielder Zambo Anguissa added a second just before half-time with a low shot from the edge of the box.

Second-half substitute Bassogog slotted in the third with five minutes remaining and then rounded off the scoring two minutes later.

Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (second right) celebrates his goal against MalawiCameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (second right) is on loan at Italian side Napoli from Fulham

The game saw Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana return to competitive action after the completion of his doping ban.

The 25-year-old's last outing had come for club side Ajax on 31 January.

The Indomitable Lions now face a wait for the outcome of Ivory Coast's game to find out what they will require against the Elephants in Douala to progress.

Ivory Coast have also been deprived of home advantage and will face Mozambique in Cotonou, Benin.

Sakala bags hat-trick in Zambia win

Fashion Sakala in action for RangersFashion Sakala joined Rangers from Belgian side Oostende ahead of this season

Zambia kept alive their faint hopes of qualifying from Group B as Rangers forward Fashion Sakala scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 home win over Mauritania.

Patson Daka opened Zambia's account from a cross from Prosper Chiluya, and the Leicester City striker then turned provider to set up Sakala for the second.

A Sakala penalty, after Evans Kangwa was fouled in the box by goalkeeper Babacar Diop, made it 3-0 before the break and the 24-year-old completed his treble just after the hour mark.

Despite their convincing win, Zambia will be out of contention if Tunisia avoid defeat in Equatorial Guinea at 16:00 GMT.

The Tunisians, who are looking to reach a second consecutive World Cup, know victory in Malabo will secure first place in the group - but Equatorial Guinea can move level on points with the north Africans if they take all three points.

Meanwhile, Group C could also see top spot settled on Saturday afternoon, with both games kicking off at 16:00 GMT.

Nigeria have a two-point lead over Cape Verde, who host Central African Republic.

The Super Eagles face Liberia in Tangiers, with Liberia among the countries required to play home games on neutral soil.

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