Africa Cup of Nations round-up: Man City’s Kelechi Iheanacho gives Nigeria victory over Tanzania
ABUJA // Manchester City ace Kelechi Iheanacho scored the only goal of the game to give Nigeria their first win of an underwhelming Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on Saturday in Uyo.
With the 1-0 success, Nigeria finished the group stage on five points, while Tanzania were bottom of a three-team group already won by Egypt.
The Super Eagles created a rash of chances in this dead rubber game, but wasteful finishing and the brilliance of goalkeeper Aishi Manula ensured they had to wait until the 78th minute to snatch victory at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium.
It was a winning start for new manager Gernot Rohr, but he certainly knows his team will have to improve their shooting in time for next month’s World Cup qualifier in Zambia.
The Eagles created a rash of chances in the first 45 minutes, but couldn’t not make any of them count against an inspired Manula.
In the 12th minute, captain John Obi Mikel released Ahmed Musa, but the Leicester City forward failed to tuck away the opening.
On 24 minutes, Manula denied Iheanacho, before Victor Moses fluffed another chance two minutes later.
Three minutes from half time, Manula pulled off a big save to deny Odion Ighalo.
It was a similar story in the second half with Mikel denied by Manula after 59 minutes but Iheanacho, 19, conjured a wonder strike 12 minutes from time to finally break the deadlock.
Champions Ivory Coast to defend their crown
Title-holders Ivory Coast cleared a header off their goal-line in stoppage time to hang on to a 1-1 draw with Sierra Leone on Saturday to squeeze into the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Jonathan Kodjia scored via a bicycle kick after 35 minutes for the Ivorians before a sell-out 25,000 crowd in Bouake but Kei Kamara equalised on 67 minutes with a glancing header following a free kick.
It was Kamara, back after a self-imposed one-year exile having accused Sierra Leone officials of disrespecting him, who almost took his country to the finals after a 20-year absence.
Sierra Leone were awarded a corner five minutes into stoppage time but a far-post Kamara header was cleared off the line.
Ivory Coast qualified for a seventh straight Cup of Nations by winning Group I with six points after drawing twice against Sierra Leone and taking four points off Sudan.
Sierra Leone finished with five points and Sudan with four.
Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe secured places ahead of the final round and hosts Gabon are automatic participants as hosts.
Another 14 matches are scheduled for Sunday with the remaining five places up for grabs.
Ethiopia fell behind against Seychelles in Hawassa before goals from Getaneh Kebede and Saladin Said either side of half time brought a 2-1 win and hope of qualification as one of the best two runners-up.
It was the sixth goal of the qualifying campaign for Kebede in Group J and moved him to the top of the scorers charts.
Fouad Al Triki scored a late goal as Libya shocked Cape Verde 1-0 in a Group F match interrupted when a dog wandered onto the pitch in Praia.
Defeat eliminated Cape Verde, who were briefly ranked No 1 in Africa this year and had been seeking a third consecutive Cup of Nations appearance.
Group H winners Ghana lacked numerous first choices, including Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan, and were held 1-1 in Accra by Rwanda.
Samuel Tettah put the Black Stars ahead midway through the opening half with a low shot and Muhadjir Hakizimana levelled off a free-kick seven minutes from time.
Mozambique jumped from fourth to second in the same mini-league after a last-gasp goal earned a 1-0 win over Mauritius in Maputo.
Cameroon cruised to a 2-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Group M team Gambia in Limbe.
Benjamin Moukandjo converted a first-half penalty for a foul on Karl Toko Ekambi, who scored the second goal soon after half-time.
A dismal run by Angola in Group B extended to five matches without a win when they were held 1-1 by Madagascar in Luanda.
Bapasy put the visitors ahead during the opening half with a glancing header off a corner and Gelson levelled nine minutes into the second half.
Senegal finished with a perfect Group K record thanks to a predictable 2-0 win over Namibia in Dakar through goals from Balde Keita and Famara Diedhiou.
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Published: September 4, 2016 04:00 AM