Reigning African champions Algeria got off to a perfect start in their Group A qualifying campaign of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, defeating Djibouti 8-0 in Blida on Thursday night. While Morocco defeated visitors Sudan 2-0 in Rabat to top Group I.
Islam Slimani “super hat-trick” guided Les Fennecs for a clear win at Moustapha Tchaker stadium in Blida, while visitors Djibouti had to play with 10 men for almost 70 minutes after Youssof Batio was shown the red card in the 25th minute.
Slimani’s four goals on the night made him go just one goal behind Algeria’s all-time top scorer Abdelhafid Tasfaout with 36 goals.
The Algerian festival started as early as the fifth minute. Captain Riyad Mahrez cross from the right side found Slimani’s header past the visitors’ goalkeeper Mbounihamkuye Innocent.
Twenty minutes later, Batio touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area, to be given his marching orders. From the spot Slimani completed his brace.
Just a minute later, Ramy Bensebaini took advantage of Youcef Belaili's cross to make it 3-0.
Djamel Belmadi's players do not stop there and were still pushing, leaving no chance for their opponent. Bensebaini was fouled inside the penalty area five minutes from the break, and this time Baghdad Bounedjah scored from the spot as the first half ended 4-0 for the hosts.
After the break, Slimani added two more goals in quick succession (47 ’and 53’), before Skipper Mahrez added his name to the scorers’ list on the night seven minutes after the hour mark.
Despite being 7-0 up, the Algerians continued to press, and a couple of minutes later Ramiz Zerrouki who scored his first international goal to complete the rout.
A good start for the Algerians who topped Group A on goal difference from Burkina Faso, their next opponent.
In Rabat, Morocco scored in each half to beat Sudan 2-0 at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium.
Vahid Halilhodzic men started the game on a high note, and took the lead after 10 minutes through Naif Aguerd. The Rennes center-back took advantage of the Sudanese defense’s hesitation to send a sharp shot in the net.
The Atlas Lions dominated the game, but failed to add more goals before the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, Abuaagla Abdalla deflected the ball with a header into his own net to double Morocco’s lead.
Morocco topped Group I on three points, and will face Guinea who earlier had a 1-1 draw with Guinea-Bissau on September 6.