The Democratic Republic of Congo are through to the play-off round of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after edging Benin 2-0 in a Group J top of the table clash in Kinshasa.
The victory took Les Leopards to 11 points, top of the group while Benin finished second, just one point behind. Meanwhile in the other group match, Tanzania and Madagascar played to a 1-1 draw.
DR Congo 2-0 Benin
Heading to this fixture, benin just needed a point in the Congolese capital to get themselves into the play-off round, but found themselves pegged back after just 10 minutes. Dieumerci Mbokani converted from the penalty spot after he was pulled back inside the area.
The Congolese held on to the lead, failing to net in a second despite having some chances.
In the second half, Benin came back with strategy to get themselves into the game and were on attack mode from the restart. They came close four minutes after the restart when Jodel Dossou weaved his way into the box, but his eventual shot hit the side netting.
The Beninese side kept pushing, knowing just a draw was enough to push them a step closer to a dream place in Qatar.
But, their hopes were skinned off with quarter of an hour left when Ben Malango headed home from the edge of the six yard box after rising to meet a Dieumerci Amale cross from the right.
DR Congo managed the game neatly to ensure they guarded their victory and earn a ticket to the play-offs.
Madagascar 1-1 Tanzania
At the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium in Antananarivo, home side Madagascar fought from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Tanzania, with the two sides already out of contention. The result sees Tanzania finish third in the group with eight points while Madagascar are bottom with four.
Tanzania got into the lead in the 25th minute when Saimon Msuva scored his fourth goal of the qualifiers with a neat finish off a Salum Feisal pass.
Madagascar were rejuvenated in the second half and Hakim Abdallah forced Metacha Mnata to a good save in the 57th minute when he nodded in a strong header from Loic Lapoussin’s cross.
Paolon Voavy also came close 20 minutes to time just a few seconds after coming on when he was put through by a brilliant Fabrice Rakotondraibe backheel, but is shot was wayward.
They however got the much needed goal in the 74th minute when Abdallah fired in a volley from inside the box after the Tanzanian backline failed to clear away a Lapoussin freekick from the left.
Madagascar had to finish the match with 10 men when Pascal Razakanantenaina was sent off for a second yellow card for fouling Msuva at the edge of the box. From the resultant freekick, Novatus Dismas saw his freekick crack against the bar.
Zimbabwe 1-1 Ethiopia
Elsewhere, Ethiopia played to a 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe in a dead rubber Group G fixture. Kudakwashe Mahachi gave Zimbabwe a 36th minute lead before Abubeker Nasir equalized for the Ethiopians with three minutes to play.
Ethiopia finish the group phase with five points while Zimbabwe finish bottom with two points.