A pitch invasion, four red cards and the current holders being knocked out ensured a lively ending in the final round of group stage qualifications for the African Cup of Nations due to take place from January 17 to February 8 next year.
Here’s a quick round up of last night’s action and who’s made it through to the tournament finals now set to be held in Equatorial Guinea after original hosts Morocco withdrew due to safety concerns over Ebola.
With South Africa already securing first place position in the group it was down to last year’s winners Nigeria to secure second place. All they needed to do was secure a win over Bafana Bafana. Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie’s two goals either side of half-time looked to be sending the holders out of the cup before Sone Aluko pulled one back.
The odds turned in the Super Eagles’ favour as South Africa were reduced to ten men when Reneilwe Letsholonyane saw red after 70 minutes. Aluko grabbed his second of the night in a last minute equaliser for his side but ultimately it proved to be of little worth as the Super Eagles crashed out of the competition.
Congo took full advantage of Nigeria’s slip-up as their 1-0 victory, courtesy of goalscorer Igor N’Ganga, over Sudan moved them into the runners-up spot.
Mali handed Algeria their first defeat of the competition as their 2-0 victory meant Mali qualified in second place behind their already qualified opponents. Seydou Keita scored from the penalty spot after 29 minutes before Mustapha Yatabare doubled their lead early in the second half.
Malawi could only manage a goalless draw against bottom placed Ethiopia which ended their chances of progressing.
The only thing left to play for in Group C was the position of first or second between already qualified Gabon and Burkina Faso. Gabon came out on top as they managed to score four past Lesotho including a brace from Malick Evouna. Ndong scored two for the away side to reduce the deficit but overall his side finished bottom of the group with just two points.
Burkina Faso could only draw 1-1 with Angola with both sides scoring from the penalty spot.
Ivory Coast secured their place in next year’s tournament by earning a point in a dull 0-0 draw with already qualified Cameroon. Yaya Toure’s Ivory Coast knew they needed a point to progress and after Cameroon’s Stephane Mbia was sent off The Elephants seemed content to sit back and take the crucial point. At full-time, thousands of fans spilled onto the pitch in celebration with some supporters appearing to try and pull the crossbar down at one end.
DR Congo came from a goal down to Sierra Leone to win 3-1 thanks to two goals from Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie. With Egypt losing to Tunisia, DR Congo progressed as one of the best third-placed sides.
That means bad news for Palace and City fans as two of their stars will now be missing for three weeks of the Premier League season.
Ghana brushed Togo aside comfortably beating them 3-1 to clinch top spot in the group. Goals from Celtic’s Mubarak Wakaso, Abdul Majeed and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu rounded up an impressive group stage for the Black Stars.
Meanwhile, it was a winner takes all decider in the game between Uganda and Guinea for the runners-up spot. Borussia Monchengladbach’s Ibrahima Traore gave Guinea the lead from a curling free-kick before Seydouba Soumah converted a penalty in the 58 minute to double their advantage.
There was little to play for in the group as Cape Verde who had already topped the group and Zambia closely behind them came head to head. Zambia came out 1-0 winners thanks to Roland Kampamba’s 77 minute strike. Cape Verde topped the group on 12 points with Zambia second on 11.
Mozambique and Niger played out a 1-1 draw to complete the groups’ final games.
Tunisia and Senegal had both already qualified prior to the final round of games so the attention turned to Egypt who needed to beat Tunisia by two clear goals to qualify. Despite a goal from Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah, they lost 2-1 to Tunisia meaning DR Congo snatched the final qualifying place.
Senegal easily beat Botswana 3-0 who had a campaign to forget, managing just one point from six games.
List of African Cup of Nation finalists are:
Cameroon, Algeria, Cape Verde Islands, Mali, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana, Congo, DR Congo and hosts Equatorial Guinea.