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Ethiopia, Guineas Bissau, Mauritania reach Cup of Nations finals

FOOTBALL By Reuters | March 31st 2021 | 2 min read
Senegal fans celebrate after Sadio Mane scores a goal during their Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (Afcon) Round of 16 match against Uganda, in Dakar [photo courtesy]

Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania have become the latest countries to qualify for January’s Africa Cup of Nations as they secured runners-up berths in their groups on Tuesday.

Ethiopia lost 3-1 to Ivory Coast but still qualified, while Mauritania won 1-0 in the Central African Republic to secure their spot for a second straight tournament.

Guinea Bissau posted a 3-0 win over Congo to catapult above them into second place in Group I.

They had to win the game while their visitors needed only draw but Piqueti scored in the last minute of the first half and Frederic Mendy and Jorginho Intima added two more after the break to see Guinea Bissau to a third successive finals.

Ivory Coast beat Ethiopia in Abidjan to top Group K with 13 points but Ethiopia, with nine, qualified as runners-up when Madagascar were held to a 0-0 draw by Niger at the same time.

The Malagasy, who made the last Cup of Nations quarter-finals on their debut, needed a home win to usurp Ethiopia in the standings but despite their desperate onslaught at home in Toamasina failed to beat veteran goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda.

Ethiopia were a goal behind within three minute as Willy Boly scored for the Ivorians followed by a 19th minute penalty from Franck Kessie.

Getaneh Kebede pulled a goal back in the second half but the hosts quickly re-established a two-goal advantage through Jean Evrard Kouassi.

Former Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara scored on the stroke of halftime to ensure Mauritania qualified with a win in Bangui.

They finished second in Group E behind Morocco, who host Burundi later on Tuesday.

French-born Kamara had only agreed to play for Mauritania, where his father hails from, earlier this year and was playing his second international.

Group I winners Senegal, who qualified last November, needed a 96th minute Cheikhou Kouyate equaliser to avoid a home loss to lowly Eswatini for whom Sabelo Gamedze netted a stunning fourth minute volley followed by a frantic defensive rearguard action.

Victor Osimhen, Oghenekaro Etebo and substitute Paul Onuachu scored for already-qualified Nigeria as they beat Lesotho 3-0 in Lagos in Group L.

A total of 22 teams have so far qualified for the finals in Cameroon with the last two places to be settled later on Tuesday.


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