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Algeria extend winning start in 2023 Nations Cup qualifiers

Ramy Bensebaini in action for Algeria
Ramy Bensebaini opened the scoring for Algeria in Tanzania

Algeria extended their perfect start in qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a routine victory away against Tanzania.

Goals from Ramy Bensebaini and Mohamed El Amine Amoura at the end of each half gave the North Africans a 2-0 win in the Group F clash in Dar-es-Salaam.

The Desert Foxes were defending champions at the Nations Cup finals earlier this year but went out in the group stage in Cameroon.

However, Algeria are now well on course to reach next year’s tournament in Ivory Coast, with Djamel Belmadi’s men holding a four-point lead at the top of their group after Uganda and Niger drew 1-1 earlier on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, Congo-Brazzaville, Mozambique and Sudan picked up their first wins and Gabon and Mauritania drew to extend their unbeaten starts.

Algeria were again without injured Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez after beating Uganda at home on Saturday, and recorded a second consecutive 2-0 triumph.

Borussia Monchengladbach left-back Bensebaini broke the deadlock two minutes into first-half added time after a free-kick was flicked on to the back post, and Amoura rounded off the game in the 89th minute.

His initial shot hit the upright and the forward was then teed up by Ismael Bennacer before firing into the roof of the net to notch his first international goal.

After two rounds of matches, Niger are the closest challengers to the Desert Foxes after grabbing a point against Uganda in Kitende.

The Cranes took the lead two minutes before half-time when Milton Karisa’s cross from the right wing evaded the Nigerien goalkeeper, but Amadou Sabo advanced from halfway to curl in a stunning equaliser from the edge of the box with 19 minutes remaining.

Niger have two points, while Tanzania and Uganda both have one, with the next qualifiers scheduled for September.

Mozambique’s Mambas stun Squirrels of Benin

Geny Catamo in action for Sporting Lisbon
Mozambique international Geny Catamo spent the second half of this season on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes

Mozambique pulled off a surprise 1-0 away win against Benin in their in Group L clash in Cotonou, with Geny Catamo netting the only goal seven minutes before the break.

The Sporting Lisbon forward converted a cut-back following some impressive wing play by Reinildo Mandava to move Mozambique on to four points, two points behind leaders Senegal.

The Nations Cup holders are on maximum points after Sadio Mane gave them victory over Rwanda on Tuesday, with Rwanda on one point and Benin yet to get off the mark.

Sudan, who returned to the Nations Cup finals this year after a 10-year absence, lost their opening Group I qualifier in Mauritania and got their campaign back on track with a 2-1 home win over DR Congo.

Waleed Bakhiet put Sudan ahead in the 16th minute in Omdurman and Mohamed Abdelrahman added a crucial second for the Secretary Birds with four minutes remaining, with Jonathan Bolingi pulling one back for the Leopards in injury time.

DR Congo have lost both their matches, while Sudan are a point behind Gabon and Mauritania.

Those two sides played out a goalless draw in Franceville, with Pape Ibnou Ba going close for Mauritania and Aaron Appindangoye heading narrowly wide for the Panthers.

Congo-Brazzaville were thumped 4-0 in Mali in their first Group G outing but recovered to record a potentially crucial home win over The Gambia.

The Scorpions, who reached the quarter-finals on their Nations Cup finals debut in January, had won their opener 1-0 against South Sudan.

Antoine Makoumbou’s low, long-range strike in the 74th minute gave the Congolese a 1-0 win in to move level in the table with Tom Saintfiet’s side and Mali on three points.

South Sudan host Mali in Uganda on Thursday (13:00 GMT), with seven other matches scheduled the same day.

Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa will all begin their qualification campaigns, with the final games in the second round of matches set for Monday, 13 June.

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