World Cup 2022: DR Congo beat Benin to reach African play-offs

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DR Congo striker Dieumerci MbokaniDR Congo striker Dieumerci Mbokani, 35, scored four goals in Group J

DR Congo reached the play-off phase of African World Cup qualifying when beating Benin 2-0 in Kinshasa on Sunday.

Bidding to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1974, the Congolese took an early lead through a Dieumerci Mbokani penalty before Ben Malango sealed the win 16 minutes from time.

Mbokani, 35, has belied his veteran status in this qualifying campaign with four goals in six games.

The victory enabled the Congolese to leapfrog their opponents at the top of Group J on the sixth and final round of games.

DR Congo take the fifth of ten places available in the play-offs, with Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Senegal having also booked their berth in the third and final qualifying round.

Africa's five World Cup representatives will be decided when the two-legged play-offs take place in March.

The Congolese finished the group with 11 points, one more than Benin, while Tanzania recorded eight and Madagascar four.

Also on Sunday, Madagascar drew 1-1 at home to Tanzania as both sides also finished their Group J campaign.

Simon Msuva gave the visitors the lead after 25 minutes, with Hakim Abdalah levelling for the Malagasy as he registered his first goal of the campaign.

Elsewhere, Zimbabwe drew 1-1 at home to Ethiopia in Group G, from which neither side - both of whom will be at January's Africa Cup of Nations - can progress.

Kuda Mahachi gave the Zimbabweans a late first-half lead and had looked to be on course for their first win in the group, only for Ethiopia's Abubeker Nassir to equalise four minutes from time.

Later on Sunday, the group will be wrapped up when South Africa - who lead with 13 points - need to avoid defeat in Ghana, who have 10 points, to book their place in the play-offs.

Both Senegal and Congo will also conclude their second round campaigns as the Teranga Lions, who have already reached the play-offs and who will be without the injured Sadio Mane, look to retain their unbeaten run in Group H.

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