Egypt defeated Senegal at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday in what was a repeat of the African Cup of Nations final.
A Saliou Ciss own goal in the 4th minute was all the Pharaohs needed to earn an important first leg result against the African champions.
Senegal’s many attempts to crawl back into the game was rebuffed by a stubborn Egyptian defence, leaving the Teranga Lions with a mountain to climb when they host the return leg on Tuesday.
Morocco came from behind in Kinshasa to steal an important draw in DR Congo. Brentford’s Yoanne Wissa had given the Leopards the lead just 12 minutes into the game as they piled pressure on Morocco.
The Atlas Lions held off for long and had a profligate Congolese attack to thank for finding a way back into the game.
Morocco equalised in the 76th minute through substitute Tarik Tissoudali to set up a tricky tie against the Congolese in Casablanca on Tuesday.
Algeria defeated Cameroon away from home as they take an important step to the World Cup. Islam Slimani scored the crucial winner in the 40th minute to silence the cheering Cameroon fans. Algeria will host the AFCON bronze medal winners on Tuesday.
Moussa Sissako scored an own goal and received his marching orders for Mali as Tunisia ran out 1-0 winners away. The Carthage Eagles held the Malians for almost an hour as they took a crucial step to yet another World Cup qualification.
In the only clash not involving a North African team, Nigeria held Ghana to a draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
Nigeria will host their West African rivals on the 29th of March in Abuja in a potentially cracking fixture.
All four North African teams involved in the qualifiers are in more comfortable positions going into the second leg and may have four of Africa’s five slots at the World Cup. West Africa is sure to get one in either Nigeria or Ghana.
Cameroon and DR Congo in the Central Africa area face uphill tasks in their games away to Algeria and Morocco respectively.
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