FIFA World Cup qualifiers: Mali, DR Congo pick away points as Niger hit Djibouti; Cote d’Ivoire defeat Cameroon

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Mali and DR Congo picked points away from home against Uganda and Republic of Benin respectively on Monday, while Niger Republic came from a goal down to hit Djibouti 4-2.
On match day two of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Mali retained their hold on Group E leadership with a point against hosts Uganda Cranes.The match was played at the St. Mary’s Kitende Stadium in the outskirts of the capital city of Kampala.

Mali moved to four points, haven defeated Rwanda 1-0 in their opening match.

Uganda went for a second consecutive game without scoring after playing to a similar result against Kenya on Thursday in Nairobi.

The Cranes had to play 36 minutes of regulation time with 10 men after defender Murshid Juuko was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Chances were once again few to pick from.

The closest the two sides came to a goal was when Mali’s Charles Traore saw his curling effort from the left at the stroke of half-time flew over the bar by inches.

In the second half, the West Africans threatened on set-pieces.

Their next chance came on the hour mark when Adama Traore stood over a free-kick at the edge of the box but his curling effort flew inches over.

Uganda were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute when Juuko was sent off for a second yellow card after elbowing Kiki Kouyate.

Mali hoped to take advantage of the numbers and had a chance in the 75th minute when Adama took on a shot from range but it went over.

Uganda’s only shot at goal in the match came in the 77th minute when substitute Mustafa Kiza forced a save off the goalkeeper with a free-kick.

In Cotonou, home side Republic of Benin came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with DR Congo.

Dieumerci Mbokani gave the Leopards the lead after heading home from a Cedric Bakambu cross on the right after 12 minutes.

The home side however drew level after 32 minutes when Jordan Aeoti thumped a header into the net from a Delvyn Moremus cross from the left.

The home side had a brilliant opportunity to go 2-1 up four minutes to the break but Steve Mounie’s attempted looping header over the goalkeeper was punched away.

The ball was recycled and Matteo Alhinvi picked it up on the left but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

In the second half, Republic of Benin came close again but were denied by the bar when Doremus sent a header against the upright off a cross from Cedric Hountoundji.

Meanwhile, Niger Republic came from a goal down to beat Djibouti 4-2 and pick their first win of the qualifiers.

Anas Ali had given Djibouti a dream start with a goal in the 32nd minute, burying the ball home after the Niger Republic goalkeeper had spilled a cross from the left.

They took the lead to half-time and were surely dreaming of better days after their 8-0 humbling by Algeria on Match Day 1.

But, Niger Republic fought to get back into the game and equalised four minutes after the break through Mohamed Wonkoye.

He wriggled his way into the box before calmly slotting past the goalkeeper.

Victorien Adebayor then shot home the second in the 56th minute when he broke inside the box after another good move by Niger Republic.

Wonkoye then doubled his tally and made it 3-1 for Niger Republic off the penalty kick spot in the 64th minute, before Amadou Sabo made it 4-1 four minutes later.

Warsama Hassan scored Djibouti’s second in injury time, but could not stop his side from losing, as Niger Republic raised their Group A tally to three points.
Meanwhile, Sebastien Haller scored twice in the opening half, as hosts Cote d’Ivoire defeated Cameroon 2-1 at Lassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Monday night.

Cote d’Ivoire raised their tally to four points on top of the group, one more than second-placed Cameroon.

Malawi take on Mozambique in the group’s other game on Tuesday.

After a cautious start to the opening half from both sides, it was the hosts who took the lead after 20 minutes.

From a free-kick just outside the penalty kick area, Jean-Michel Seri shot was stopped by touching the hands of Cameroon skipper Vincent Aboubakar, leading to the award of a penalty kick.

From the penalty kick spot, Sebastien Haller sent Devis Epassy to the wrong direction to give Cote d’Ivoire the lead.

Nine minutes later, it became 2-0.

Jean Kouassi’s pass found Haller inside the area, and the forward got the best of Epassy to complete his brace and double the hosts’ lead.

Cameroon came nearest to half the deficit after 37 minutes, when Christian Bassogog found Joyskim Dawa Tchakonte at the edge of the area.

But the right-back’s goalbound shot was stopped by Sylvain Gbohouo in goal for Cote d’Ivoire, for the first half to end with the hosts leading 2-0.

Three minutes after the break, Kouassi could have added a third for the hosts.

Ibrahim Sangare found his way past two defenders, and his backheel pass found Kouassi who sent a curling shot just wide.

Cameroon substitute Stephane Bahoken tried to find the back of the net with an acrobatic kick after 55 minutes, but his effort was easily held by Gbohouo.

At the hour mark, Cameroon found one back.

A foul from Eric Bailly on substitute Karl Toko Ekambi inside the area awarded the visitors a penalty kick, which the richly Nicolas Ngamaleu converted to make it 2-1.

In the 75th minute, the crossbar saved the visitors from conceding the third, when Jean-Michael Seri’s freekick rebounded from the woodwork after beating Epassy.

With time passing, Cameroon threw more players in attack, while Cote d’Ivoire relied on counter-attacks, but the Elephants held to Group D important of Group D.

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