JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria progressed to the final round of African Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Rwanda Saturday for a 3-0 aggregate victory.
Cameroon was unimpressive as it edged Guinea-Bissau 1-0 at home to take its tie 2-0 and also go through to the last 30 teams, who will play off for 15 places at next year’s Cup of Nations finals alongside host South Africa.
Uganda overturned a 3-1 deficit to beat Republic of Congo 4-0 at home and qualify for the second round. Sierra Leone edged Sao Tome e Principe 5-4 over two legs.
Egypt slipped to a surprise 3-2 home defeat in the delayed first leg of its tie against Central African Republic Friday and again faces a battle to make the tournament after missing out this year.
On Saturday, Nigeria’s Ikechukwu Uche poked home from close range in the ninth minute in Calabar to settle the home team’s nerves. Ahmed Musa added a second in the 59th as a stuttering Nigeria under new coach Stephen Keshi found traces of form.
Cameroon was already under pressure after managing only a stoppage-time goal in Guinea-Bissau that gave the four-time African champion a narrow 1-0 aggregate lead from the first leg in February.
Cameroon needed another late goal to seal the tie as Benjamin Moukandjo scored in the 81st in Yaounde.
The 16 teams that made the 2012 finals were given a bye to September and October’s second round and will be joined by 14 countries from this stage. The African Cup is being played in successive years after organizers moved the tournament away from World Cup years.
Little Sao Tome, which came through preliminary qualifiers, needed one more goal in Freetown to force its way past Sierra Leone on away goals and into the final round after pulling one back in the 47th minute, but the visitors couldn’t score again.
Uganda eventually overpowered Republic of Congo in Kampala, but Geoffrey Masa and Emmanuel Okwi’s tie-clinching goals came in the last 27 minutes at Nelson Mandela Stadium.
Malawi also turned around its tie with a 2-0 home win over Chad to progress 4-3 on aggregate and Cape Verde thrashed Madagascar 7-1. Liberia squeezed past Namibia 1-0 after holding the Namibians to a 0-0 draw in the second leg.
Egypt’s 3-2 loss in Alexandria was the first for Bob Bradley’s team this year. Also Friday, Algeria booked its place when Foued Kadir scored in the opening minute to send the Algerians to a 4-1 home win over Gambia and a comfortable 6-2 aggregate victory. — AP