Nigeria, Zambia, Ivory Coast all suffer upsets in Nations Cup qualifiers

Mozambique and Guinea surprise, while South Africa gets over the hump

Nigeria, Zambia and the Ivory Coast all suffered disappointing losses at home in the first group of qualifying matches for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations over the weekend. South Africa earned their first win ever in competitive play against Nigeria, defeating their Group E opponent two goals to nil in Uyo, Nigeria. The game was won by a 54th minute goal by South Africa’s Tokelo Rantie, followed by an 81st minute goal for Percy Tau. On Nigeria’s side, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Simon Moses all missed chances to score in the first half. This is especially disappointing for Nigeria because South Africa kept them out of the last Africa Cup of Nations due to a badly-timed 2-2 draw. South Africa is now tied with Libya, who trounced the Seychelles in the other Group E match five goals to one.

Over in Group H, Guinea pulled off the upset over the Ivory Coast, defeating them three goals to two. Ivorian Seydou Doumbia was the first to put a goal on the scoreboard in the 15th minute, but Guinean Abdoulaye Sadio Diallo equalized in the 32nd minute. Doumbia scored his second goal of the match in the 62nd minute, and then Guinean Francois Kamano equalized the score again just four minutes later. Naby Keita then scored a 79th minute strike to seal a win for Guinea. Guinea finds itself tied with the Central African Republic atop Group H, while Ivory Coast joins Rwanda with zero points.

And in Group K, Mozambique just scraped by Zambia one goal to nil. That lone goal was scored in the 89th minute by Mozambican Stanley Ratifo, sealing the country’s first ever victory over Zambia in competitive play. Mozambique finds itself atop Group K with Guinea-Bissau, who defeated Namibia at home one goal to nil.

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