World Cup 2018: Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt all avoid upsets


Nigeria scored twice at home to beat Swaziland 2-0 on aggregate and progress in Africa’s qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

The Super Eagles were toothless in front of goal in the first leg, which ended 0-0, and needed 52 minutes of the return game to make the breakthrough.

Moses Simon fired them ahead, finally ending the resistance of a team they were expected to sweep aside.

A second goal was added by Efe Ambrose on 88 minutes before Swaziland had Phumlani Dlamini sent off when he was shown a second yellow card.

Another of the continent’s heavyweights, Ghana, secured their passage in very similar fashion to Nigeria.

Having been held 0-0 to Comoros in the first leg, the Black Stars hit two goals without reply in the return match to go through 2-0 on aggregate.

Wakaso Mubarak grabbed the opener and Swansea striker Jordan Ayew added the second late on. And just as Swaziland ended their match with 10 men, so too did Comoros when Omar Mdahoma received a second yellow card with eight minutes remaining.

Egypt made the most of Chad’s late arrival to win easily 4-0 to go through 4-1 on aggregate.

Chad only arrived at the Borg Al Arab stadium in 30 minutes before kick-off.

This after their flight from N’Djamena was delayed due to a row over player bonuses and then the condition of the plane they were using for the journey.

The Pharaoh’s were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes with goals from Mohamed El Neny and then Abdalallah El Saied.

Portugal based Koka then headed home twice in the space of five minutes before half-time to put the game beyond doubt.

Tunisia eased past Mauritania with a second 2-1 win, to make it 4-2 overall.

Defender Syam Ben Youssef gave the hosts the lead early in the second half before Moulaye Ahmed ‘Bessam’ Khalil gave Mauritania hope with an equaliser.

Substitute Saad Bguir, who plays for local club Esperance, sealed the victory for the hosts.

African champions Ivory Coast were convincing 3-0 winners over Liberia in Abidjan to complete a 4-0 aggregate win.

Striker Giovanni Sio, who plays from Rennes in France, scored twice before half-time.

While Nice midfielder Jean Michel Seri was also on target for the Elephants.

South Africa needed an own goal to earn a narrow 1-0 win over visiting Angola in Durban.

Manucho Diniz was the unfortunate player who got the last touch on a corner to give Bafana Bafana the 4-1 aggregate win.

Libya were the first team on Tuesday to book their place in the next round after a 3-1 win in Rwanda gave them a 4-1 aggregate victory.

Khumaj put the visitors ahead in the second leg to put them in control of the tie.

Rwanda’s Jacques Tuyisenge made it 1-1 on the day and offered his side some hope of a comeback but Libya pulled away thanks to a brace from Mohamed Ghanudi.

And Cameroon are through, despite being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Niger. The Indomitable Lions secured their passage in the first leg with a 3-0 win.

Congo finally emerged victorious after a fantastic tussle with Ethiopia, the Red Devils winning their second leg 2-1 to go through 6-4 on aggregate.

Ethiopia’s Getaneh Kebede scored the opening goal of the second leg to level the tie at 4-4 on aggregate.

But Francis N’Ganga nudged Congo ahead overall when he made it 1-1 on the day and Thievy Bifouma’s strike sealed his side’s victory.

They join Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Morocco, Uganda and Zambia – who had already played their second legs – in the group stage.

Kicking off next October, the 20 second-round qualifiers will form five groups of four teams with the winners of each group booking their place at the finals in Russia.