MalawiMalawi have reached the group stage of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after beating Benin on penalties.

The Flames went into Saturday’s second round, second-leg tie trailing 1-0 from last week’s game in Cotonou but made the most of home advantage in the return to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year’s tournament in Morocco.

John Banda put the hosts 1-0 up – levelling the aggregate score – after only 13 minutes when he struck a spectacular scissor kick volley from the edge of the area.

Malawi, who are 16 places below Benin on the Africa rankings list, remained on the front foot for the rest of the game but were unable to break through again, leaving the match to be decided on spot-kicks.

It was Benin who went first and surprisingly their star player Stephane Sessegnon missed, handing Malawi an advantage they never surrendered as they went on to win the shoot-out 4-3.

They will now face Mali, Ethiopia and Africa’s top-ranked side Algeria in Group B.

Rwanda also made it through on penalties after they came back from a 2-0 first-leg loss to Congo-Brazzaville.

Third round second-leg fixtures

  • Saturday
  • Malawi 1-0 Benin (Agg: 1-1)
  • Rwanda 2-0 Congo (Agg 2-2)
  • Guinea-Bissau 1-1 Botswana (Agg: 1-3)
  • Sunday
  • Mozambique v Tanzania (2-2)
  • Kenya v Lesotho (0-1)
  • Mauritania v Uganda (0-2)

Coach Stephen Constantine masterminded a similar comeback last time out as they shocked Libya 3-0 to win 3-2 on aggregate but this time the Wasps needed spot-kicks to clinch victory.

Both normal time goals came in the second half, Ndahinduka Michel pulling the first goal back on 55 minutes and five minutes later Meddy Kagere made it 2-0 on the day and all square overall.

With no further goals scored it took penalties to separate the teams and Rwanda won the shoot-out 4-3, with Patrick Sibomana scoring the decisive kick.

They join title-holders Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan in Group A for the September-November mini-league phase.

In Saturday’s late kick-off Botswana come back from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Guinea-Bissau and qualify 3-1 on aggregate.

Ivanildo opened the scoring on 20 minutes to give Guinea-Bisseau hope of pulling off a comeback but the Zebras equalised on the day through Jerome Ramatlhakwane to restore the two-goal advantage they built after the first leg.

Botswana will come up against Egypt, Tunisia and Senegal in Group G.

There are three more matches on Sunday, with two of the ties finely poised.

Kenya suffered a 1-0 defeat in Lesotho last week and very much missed goalkeeper Arnold Origi and midfielders John Omollo and Ayub Timbe.

But midfielder Victor Wanyama of English Premier League outfit Southampton played and officials expect him to also feature in the return match.

Originally set for Nakuru, 160 kilometres north-west of Nairobi, the game has been moved to Nyayo Stadium in the capital.

Belgium-born Kenya coach Adel Amrouche must watch from the main stand as he is serving a one-year ban for spitting at the fourth official in an earlier qualifier.

Lesotho are desperate to improve their record of scoring only once during 11 consecutive away losses in the Nations Cup.

Tanzania were the lone first-leg hosts not to win, but Dutch coach Mart Nooij believes he can overcome former team Mozambique despite a 2-2 first-leg stalemate.

“No-one gave us a chance in Zimbabwe and we scored twice to draw. The battle with Mozambique is far from over,” he said.

Uganda look to be in the driving seat as they take a 2-0 lead to Mauritania.

Sierra Leone sealed their place in the next stage after their game away to Seychelles was cancelled on Friday on the advice of the host country’s health ministry because of fears over the Ebola virus.

With no chance to postpone the match to a later date, Seychelles have forfeited the tie, which they trailed 2-0 from the first leg, and consequently their place in the competition.

The Confederation of African Football has confirmed Sierra Leone (picture above) have now advanced to Group D alongside Ivory Coast, Cameroon and DR Congo.

Source BBC


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