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Gabon became the first nation to secure their spot in the group stages of the African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Mozambique.

The Mambas had secured a 1-0 first-leg win in Maputo on Wednesday evening thanks to a Helder Pelembe strike, yet Gabon were right back on level terms in the tie just two minutes into the second leg in Libreville thanks to Al Ahly forward Malick Evouna.

Yet that would be the last goal of the tie, as neither side could find the crucial strike to decide the winner after 90 minutes, resulting in extra-time. Again neither goalkeeper was beaten as the play-off went to the lottery of penalties, and after two failed attempts by Mozambique, it was left to star Borussia Dortmund attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang to slot home the decisive spot-kick to ensure Gabon became the first of 20 African teams that will battle it out in the group stages for one of five CAF spots at Russia 2018.

Elsewhere, Africa’s second-highest ranked side Algeria were made to sweat following a comeback-from-behind 2-2 draw with Tanzania in their first-leg World Cup qualifier on Saturday afternoon.

The Desert Foxes found themselves a goal down at the break following Elias Maguri’s late first-half goal, before TP Mazembe forward Mbwana Samatta doubled the hosts’ lead on 55 minutes.

Algeria, ranked 109 places higher than their opponents in the latest Fifa rankings, rallied as Islam Slimani scored two goals in the space of three minutes to salvage a draw for the Algerians, who take two vital away goals into the return leg at home next week.

Ethiopia and Congo played out a seven-goal thriller in Addis Ababa as the visitors recorded a 4-3 win. University of Pretoria’s Grant Kebede opened the scoring for Ethiopia to give them an early lead, yet Congo fought back with a vengeance, holding a 4-1 lead with ten minutes to go. The hosts would not lie down however, with two late goals ensuring they are still in the tie ahead of the reverse fixture on Tuesday.

At the Stade Omnisports Idriss Mahamat Ouya in N’Djamena, African powerhouses Egpyt were stunned 1-0 by hosts Chad, CS Sfaxien’s Ezechiel N'Douassel scoring the 73rd minute winner to leave the Pharaohs with it all to do next week.

In Francistown, Bloemfontein Celtic’s Joel Mogorosi was on target for Botswana as they recorded a slender 2-1 win over Mali, Samba Sow’s away goal giving the Malian’s hope ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.

Saturday’s African World Cup qualifying first-leg results:

Tanzania 2-2 Algeria

Ethiopia 3-4 Congo

Chad 1-0 Egypt

Botswana 2-1 Mali

Gabon 1-0 Mozambique (Gabon advance on penalties)

Tag(s) : #Sport

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