African countries wound up their final round of friendly match engagements with several matches played this week.
As attention returns to interclub competitions next weekend, here’s a quick recap for the midweek international friendlies.
Algeria 2-2 Mexico
Reigning African champions Algeria stretched their unbeaten run of matches to 20 after being held to a 2-2 draw by Concacaf Gold Cup holders Mexico despite playing almost half the game with 10 men.
Adlene Guedioura was handed his matching orders 10 minutes after the break after a second yellow card. Algeria had come from a goal down after Jesus Manuel Corona had given the Mexicans a 43rd minute lead.
The African champions however drew level two minutes later when midfielder Ismael Bennacer struck a low shot from the edge of the box after being teed up by Sofiane Feghouli.
After Guedioura’s red card, Algeria were not turned back as they kept their attacking game and were rewarded in the 66th minute through captain Riyad Mahrez who was set up by Ramy Bensebaini.
However, Algeria saw victory snatched right infront of their eyes when the Mexicans drew level four minutes from the final whistle through Diego Lainez off a Raul Jimenez pass.
Japan 1-0 Côte d’Ivoire
In the Netherlands, Côte d’Ivoire lost 1-0 to Japan, conceding a last gasp winner against the Samurai Blue. Naomichi Ueda stepped off the bench to head in the winner in added time to aid the Japanese to victory.
Ivory Coast had chances to score, with the best falling on the returning Gervinho who saw his point blank effort at the start of the second half saved by the keeper.
Centre-back Ueda however ensured Japan had the last laugh with his first international goal when he headed home Gaku Shibasaki’s long free kick at the back post in the third minute of added time, just after coming on.
Mozambique 0-3 Angola
After their previous friendly match against Guinea Bissau was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, Angola took to the pitch at the Municipal Stadium of Óbidos in Portugal, picking up a healthy 3-0 victory over Mozambique.
Mateus Galiano scored a goal in either half in the 45th and 69th minutes before Gelson Dala put the icing on the cake with the third with 12 minutes left to play.
The friendly match result is a booster for Angola who are preparing to face DR Congo in a double header qualifier of the Total Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.
Morocco 1-1 DR Congo
Morocco’s Atlas Lions followed up their impressive 3-1 victory over Senegal with a 1-1 draw against DR Congo at the Mohammed VI Football Complex.
The home side broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime when Noussair Mazraoui stretched his foot ahead of the keeper to tap in from close range off a Youssef El-Arabi cross from the left.
However, the DR Congo Les Leopards drew level in the 65th minute when Yoane Wissa’s left footed low shot from the edge of the box landed in the bottom right corner of the goal after being teed up by Jordan Rolly Botaka.
Nigeria 1-1 Tunisia
Nigeria’s hopes of bouncing back from last week’s loss against African champions Algeria didn’t go much to plan as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Tunisia, the side they beat to clinch the AFCON 2019 bronze in Cairo, Egypt last year.
They had the chances to win though, with who scored the opener for Nigeria also missing a penalty.
Iheanacho quenched his three-year thirst for an international goal for the Super Eagles when he opened the scoring with a beautiful shot on the half turn inside the box after 20 minutes.
He had a chance to double his tally after 28 minutes when Ahmed Musa was cluttered down inside the box by Tunisian keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha. However, his tame penalty was well saved by the Tunisian goalie.
The Carthage Eagles then drew level at the stroke of halftime when Mohamed Drager struck the ball home from the edge of the six yard box after a good build up on the left, Rafia Hamza delivering the final cutback.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s opponents in next month’s AFCON qualifiers Sierra Leone suffered their second successive friendly match defeat after going down 1-0 away to Niger in Niamey.
Ghana 5-1 Qatar
Ghana’s new head coach CK Akonnor breathed a huge sigh of relief on Monday night as he saw his side bounce back from last week’s 3-0 beating at the hands of Mali to thrash Qatar 5-1 in their second friendly match in Turkey.
Making five changes from the team that lost to Mali, Akonnor was under pressure to ensure the Black Stars made a resounding statement and they did so with a superb performance.
Skipper Andre Ayew bagged a brace to add on to goals from Tarique Fosu, Samuel Owusu and Caleb Ekuban. Qatar’s consolation was scored by Ali Almoez.
Midfielder Thomas Partey starred in the match though, as he played a crucial role in the middle of the pack and started the build up for the opener. He laid the ball through for Jordan Ayew who in turn fed Fosu for the opener.
The Qataris found themselves back in contention just before the break when Almoez lobbed the ball over Razak Abalora.
But, Ghana were a different side in the second half, Ayew making it 2-1 before Partey fed Owusu for the third. It was a goal made in the Abedi Pele household for Ghana’s fourth as Jordan fed his brother Andre.
Substitute Ekuban wrapped up the tie with the fifth.
Tanzania 0-1 Burundi
Saidi Ntibazonkiza struck the lone goal in the 85th minute as Burundi came out 1-0 victorious over hosts Tanzania in a friendly match played at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Ntibazonkiza struck a belter from the edge of the box after some swift passing movement by the Burundians to pluck victory over a star-studded Tanzanian side.
So impressive was the Burundian winger in the match that Tanzanian giants Yanga wasted no time in enquiring for his services and ended up signing him a day after the friendly.
Togo 1-1 Sudan
Claude Le Roy’s Togo conceded a last gasp equalizer as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sudan. The Togolese had gone ahead in the 70th minute courtesy of Gilles Sunu’s goal, but could not hold on to the lead as they conceded in the third minute of added time.
Mohamed Abdel Rahman scored the late equalizer for the Sudanese.
Burkina Faso 2-1 Madagascar
Burkina Faso’s Stallions were 2-1 winners over Madagascar’s Barea in another friendly match. Eric Traore scored the winner for the Burkinabes in the 65th minute.
Aston Villa’s new signing Bertrand Traore had opened the scores in the 33rd minute with a simple tap in inside the box after the Madagascar backline struggled to clear the ball.
Madagascar equalized from the penalty spot a minute to the break, through Marco Ilaimaharitra.
However, Eric ensured Burkina Faso earned victory with a goal in the 65th minute. The Madagascar backline again struggled to clear from a corner, with Eric picking the spills at the edge of the six yard box and slamming the ball home.
South Africa 1-2 Zambia
Zambia bounced back from their defeat to Kenya’s Harambee Stars with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over South Africa at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg.
After a dull first half, the game sprung to life in the second period and the hosts broke the deadlock 20 minutes after the break when Keegan Dolly rounded the keeper off a Percy Tau pass before tapping into an empty net.
Just like he did against Kenya, Kevin Kampamba stepped off the bench to change the game and this time as a scorer when he slotted in with a low shot in the 78th minute.
Chaniza Zulu scored the winner four minutes later with a tap in unmarked at the backpost.
In other friendly matches, Comoros beat Libya 2-1, Benin won 2-0 away to Gabon while Malawi and Zimbabwe played to a 0-0 draw.
Report by CAF Online
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