The Atlas Lions and Lions of Teranga secured crucial victories on Saturday to brighten their chances of reaching the third round of qualifiers
Senegal continued their perfect start en route 2022 Fifa World Cup Qatar by defeating Namibia 4-1 on Saturday evening.
Boosted by the presence of Liverpool star Sadio Mane, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy, the Lions of Teranga saw off the Brave Warriors at the Stade Lat-Dior, Thies.
It took Senegal just ten minutes to make their intent known as Idrissa Gueye put them ahead by beating goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Thanks to that bright start, coach Aliou Cisse’s men dominated every department of the game before doubling their advantage in the 38th minute through Famara Diedhiou after benefitting from some lacklustre defending by the visitors.
Five minutes before the hour mark, Mane extended the lead to guarantee the Senegalese victory, albeit, Joslin Kamatuka reduced the deficit with his 76th-minute effort.
Six minutes from full-time, substitute Keita Balde restored the Lion of Terenga’s three-goal lead to the delight of the home fans.
Thanks to this triumph, Senegal remain as Group H leaders with nine points, while Namibia – who have five points fewer – occupy the second spot.
At the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca, Ayoub El Kaabi was Morocco’s hero as his brace secured a 3-0 win for the Atlas Lions past Guinea Bissau.
The North Africans had pummelled the Djurtus 5-0 in the reverse clash in Rabat, and they completed a double over their opponents with another fine display.
Although the visitors showed promise after kick-off, they were pegged back in the 10th minute as El Kaabi put the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.
Ten minutes later, the Atlas Lions doubled their advantage through Aymen Barkok for his first international goal ever.
El Kaabi beat Mendes for the second time after 69 minutes to cruise to a comfortable away win. Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech was not listed for the clash against Bobby Samaria’s team.
Should Vahid Halilhodzic’s men defeat Guinea on Tuesday, that means their place in the final qualifying round is guaranteed with two matches to spare.
Earlier in the day, Togo settled for a 1-1 draw with Congo at the Stade de Kegue in Lome.
Having lost their first two Group H matches in the qualification campaign, the Sparrowhawks were hoping to pick up their victory against the Red Devils.
However, it was Congo who took the lead in the 21st minute as Jacques-Alaixys Romao turned the ball inside his own net while trying to cut out a cross from Ravy Dozi.
Notwithstanding the early setback, Paulo Duarte’s men bounced back to restore parity in the 56th minute through Meme Placca’s fine strike.
Lifted by that, Togo laboured in vain to get the important second goal. For the Congolese, they were reduced to ten men in the 90th minute as Fernand Mayembo was given his marching orders.