Guinea, South Africa triumph on day of shocks in Nations Cup qualifying
Guinea stunned Ivory Coast and South Africa secured a first ever win in Nigeria on a day of shocks in the qualifiers for the 2019 African Nations Cup on Saturday.
Faneva Andriatsima bagged a brace as Madagascar made a fantastic start to their Group A campaign on Friday with a 3-1 win in Sudan. Carolus Andriamatsinoro scored the third goal for the islanders, while Muhannad El Tahir grabbed a consolation for the home side.
Senegal started their qualifying campaign with a solid 3-0 home victory over Equatorial Guinea. Moussa Sow scored two and Idrissa Gueye added another in stoppage time.
African champions Cameroon picked up an excellent 1-0 home win over Morocco in what was a difficult start to their campaign, though they qualify for the 2019 finals as hosts. Vincent Aboubakar got the only goal of the game.
In the group's other game, Gerald Phiri scored the only goal as Malawi beat Comores 1-0. The Flames are in a tough group and will need six points from their matches against Comores if they are to have any hope of qualifying.
Burundi were comfortable 3-0 winners over South Sudan with South African-based Fiston Abdul Razak getting their third.
Mali came from a goal down to beat Gabon 2-1 in the other match in the pool. Denis Bouanga had given the visitors the lead inside three minutes, but Kalifa Coulibal and Yves Bissouma responded for Mali to hand them the win.
Both matches in the pool are on Sunday as Benin host Gambia and Algeria take on Togo.
Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau netted for Bafana Bafana as they claimed a 2-0 win in Uyo in Group E, immediately putting the Super Eagles in danger of missing out on an unprecedented third successive Nations Cup finals.
South Africa also hit the post twice and wasted other good opportunities as Nigeria failed to fire despite their undoubted star quality.
In the same pool, Libya thumped Seychelles 5-1 in their opening qualifier on Friday night. It leaves the Libyans on top of the pool on goal-difference after the opening round of games.
Sierra Leone claimed a 2-1 home win over Kenya as Umaru Bangura scored the winner in Group F, with Ghana hosting Ethiopia in Kumasi on Sunday.
DR Congo claimed a 3-1 derby success over Congo-Brazzaville in Group G as Cedric Bakambu grabbed a brace of goals. Zimbabwe will host Liberia in the other match in the pool in Harare on Sunday.
The 2015 Nations Cup winners Ivory Coast slipped to a surprise 3-2 home loss to Guinea in their Group H clash.
A brace from Seydou Doumbia had the Ivorians 2-1 up midway through the second half, but goals from Francois Kamano and Naby Keita swung the tie in the favour of Guinea.
Both teams paid tribute before the game to Cheikh Tiote, the former Ivorian international who collapsed and died in training with his Chinese club on Monday.
Central African Republic host Rwanda in the other game in the pool on Sunday.
Burkina Faso claimed a comfortable 3-1 home win over Angola in their Group I clash as well-travelled striker Aristide Bance grabbed two goals.
Mauritania picked up a 1-0 away win at Botswana in the other game in the group as Abdallahi Soudani scored the winner.
Swaziland held Niger to a 0-0 draw in Niamey in Group J, while the two powerhouses in that pool, Tunisia and Egypt, clash in Rades on Sunday.
Mozambique claimed an away win at 2012 champions Zambia in Group K as Stanley Ratifo grabbed the only goal in Ndola -- another disappointing result for Chipolopolo.
Jerson scored the only goal of the game as Guinea-Bissau defeated Namibia in the other match in the pool as they seek to qualify for a second successive continental finals.
Lesotho came from behind to claim a fine 1-1 draw at Tanzania in Group L, while the other match in the pool between Cape Verde Islands and Uganda was postponed from Saturday to Sunday.
By Saturday morning only seven players from the Ugandan squad had arrived in Cape Verde after travel difficulties from Dakar in Senegal.
* Only the top team in each pool will advance to the Nations Cup finals in Cameroon, along with the three best second-placed finishers.