Five more teams reach African qualifying playoffs

By Mark Gleeson

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Cape Verde Islands pulled off another big upset by landing a 2-0 victory in Tunisia to become one of five group winners to advance on Saturday to the last phase of Africa's World Cup qualifying.

Burkina Faso and Ethiopia also came through suspense-filled matches to book their places and were accompanied by heavyweights Nigeria and Senegal.

The five countries now compete over the next two months in playoff games to determine Africa's representatives for next year's finals in Brazil.

Algeria, Egypt and Ivory Coast secured their berths back in June, Ghana did so on Friday and the last remaining place will be decided on Sunday when Cameroon host Libya with the home team needing a draw and the visitors a win.

The draw for the playoffs is in Cairo on September 16.

First-half goals from Platini, who takes his name from the former France captain, and Heldon produced a giant-killing Group B result in Tunis for one of Africa's smallest countries who began the year with a shock run to the Nations Cup quarter-finals.

Tunisia had needed only a draw to go through.

Burkina Faso, surprise runners-up at the Nations Cup, completed a stunning comeback after losing their opening two games as they edged Congo to the top spot in Group E.

Congo had led by a point but were held 2-2 in Niger despite drafting tall centre back Christopher Samba into their defence.

It opened the door for the Burkinabe to overtake them and Prejuce Nakoulma scored nine minutes into the second half to earn a 1-0 home win over Gabon that took them to 12 points, one more than Congo.

RALLY BY ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia were on their way out of the competition at halftime against the Central African Republic but rallied to win 2-1 in neutral Brazzaville and finish top of Group A.

It was a relief for Ethiopia who were previously stripped of three points when soccer's ruling body FIFA found them guilty of using a suspended player.

The deduction left them needing to win on Saturday to stop South Africa snatching a dramatic lifeline.

South Africa were 2-0 up at home to Botswana at halftime and Ethiopia down by a goal, which would have seen the 2010 World Cup hosts through on goal difference.

But second-half goals for Ethiopia by Saladin Seid and Minyahile Teshome left South Africa crestfallen despite their 4-1 triumph in Durban.

Nigeria and Senegal needed home draws to win their respective groups but won to emphasise their superiority.

Emmanuel Emenike, returning after an eight-month injury absence, opened the scoring for Nigeria and Victor Moses added a second-half penalty as the African champions beat Malawi 2-0 in rainy Calabar to finish first in Group F.

Sadio Mane netted six minutes from time as Senegal defeated Uganda 1-0 in a scrappy Group J match played in neutral Marrakech.

Uganda had Godfrey Walusimbi sent off in the first half for a wild tackle.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

Bangalore remove Mumbai top order after electing to field. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »