Mali and DR Congo picked points away from home against Uganda and Benin respectively while Niger came from a goal down to hit Djibouti 4-2 in match day two of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Monday.
Uganda 0-0 Mali
In Kampala, Mali retained their hold on top spot of Group E with a point against 10-man Uganda Cranes at the St. Mary’s Kitende Stadium in the outskirts of the capital.
Mali moved to four points having beaten Rwanda 1-0 in their opening match while Uganda went for a second consecutive game without scoring after playing to a similar result against Kenya on Thursday in Nairobi.
The Cranes had to play 36 minutes of regulation time with 10 men after defender Murshid Juuko was sent off for a second bookable offense.
Chances were once again few to pick from. The closest the two sides came to a goal was when Mali’s Charles Traore whose curling effort from the left at the stroke of halftime flew over the bar by inches.
In the second half, the West Africans threatened on set piece and their next chance came on the hour mark when Adama Traore stood over a freekick at the edge of the box but his curling effort flew inches over.
Uganda were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute when Juuko was sent off for a second yellow card after elbowing Kiki Kouyate. Mali hoped to take advantage of the numbers and had a chance in the 75th minute when Adama took on a shot from range but it went over.
Uganda’s only shot at goal in the match came in the 77th minute when Substitute Mustafa Kiza forced a save off the keeper with a freekick.
Benin 1-1 DR Congo
In Cotonou, home side Benin came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with DR Congo.
Dieumerci Mbokani gave the Leopards the lead after heading home from a Cedric Bakambu cross on the right after 12 minutes. The home side however drew level after 32 minutes when Jordan Aeoti thumped a header into the net from a Delvyn Moremus cross from the left.
The home side had a brilliant opportunity to go 2-1 up four minutes to the break but Steve Mounie’s attempted looping header over the keeper was punched away. The ball was recycled and Matteo Alhinvi picked it up on the left but his shot was straight at the keeper.
In the second half, Benin came close again but were denied by the bar when Doremus sent a header against the upright off a cross from Cedric Hountoundji.
Djibouti 2-4 Niger
Meanwhile, Niger came from a goal down to beat Djibouti 4-2 and pick their first win of the qualifiers.
Anas Ali had given Djibouti a dream start with a goal in the 32nd minute, burying the ball home after the Niger keeper had spilled a cross from the left. They took the lead to halftime and were surely dreaming of better days after their 8-0 humbling by Algeria on Match Day one.
But, Niger fought to get back into the game and equalized four minutes after the break through Mohamed Wonkoye who wriggled his way into the box before calmly slotting past the keeper.
Victorien Adebayor then shot home the second in the 56th minute when he broke inside the box after another good move by Niger. Wonkoye then doubled his tally and made it 3-1 for Benin off the penalty spot in the 64th minute before Amadou Sabo made it 4-1 four minutes later.
Warsama Hassan scored Djibouti's second in injury time, but could not stop his side from losing, as Niger raised their Group A tally to 3 points.