World Cup: Mounie boosts Benin's play-off hopes

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Steve MounieSteve Mounie

Steve Mounie scored a second-half matchwinner against hosts Tanzania that could be key to Benin's hopes of reaching next year's play-offs for African World Cup qualifying.

The forward's 72nd-minute strike secured the visitors not only a crucial 1-0 win in Dar es Salaam but also top spot in Group J.

Benin now have seven points and are being chased by DR Congo, who won their first game after beating Madagascar 2-0 at home.

Tanzania, who play in Benin on Sunday, stay on four points while Madagascar are propping up the group at the halfway stage after a third straight defeat.

The Malagasy held out until the 35th minute when Chadrac Akolo opened the scoring in Kinshasa before Dieumerci Mbokani grabbed his third in as many qualifiers from the penalty spot late on.

Madagascar can gain revenge when hosting the Leopards, the only team in the group to have reached a World Cup, on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Liberia may rue the poor state of their stadium in Monrovia after losing 2-1 in stoppage time against Cape Verde in neutral Ghana.

Van-Dave Harmon opened the scoring for Liberia deep into first-half stoppage time before Jamiro Monteiro, just on as a substitute, levelled matters seven minutes after the break.

The drama still remained as Cape Verde snatched victory in the 92nd minute at the Accra Sports Stadium as another substitute, Garry Rodrigues, provided their first win in Group C.

The islanders move second on four points, two behind leaders Nigeria, with Liberia on three and Central African Republic one.

Liberia are one of 11 countries, representing over a quarter of Africa's teams in the second round, to be barred from playing at home because of poor infrastructure.

Sudan, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Mozambique have been added to the eight countries that received bans for last month, with Niger having been removed from the list after being given the go-ahead to host games.

Later on Thursday, Nigeria can extend their lead to five points if they beat Central African Republic in Lagos.

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