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Minnows prove tough to beat in AFCON qualifying

19 May 2014, 13:23

Johannesburg - Madagascar mocked the FIFA rankings with a 2-1 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory over Uganda at the weekend.

The Ugandan 'Cranes' are 32 places above the Malagasy 'Barea' in Africa -- the biggest gap between opposing teams in the 13 second round, first leg matches.

But it was the Malagasy who dictated play at Stade Rabemananjara in northern city of Mahajanga and they could have won more convincingly.

The home side missed a second-half penalty and the visitors snatched a potentially crucial away goal from a stoppage-time penalty.

Faneva Andriatsima converted an early penalty for Madagascar and Carolus Andriamatsinoro doubled the advantage midway through the opening half.

Andriatsima fluffed his second penalty and Hamis Kiiza scored from another spot-kick two minutes into additional time.

Uganda host the May 31 return match and remain favourites to reach the final qualifying round, where seven group-stage places will be up for grabs.

The 'Cranes' last played at the Cup of Nations 36 years ago while the 'Barea' have never competed at the African football showcase.

Kenya were expected to win more convincingly than 1-0 against the Comoros Islands at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

It took a spectacular outside-the-box shot from Belgium-based John Omollo on 34 minutes to break the deadlock.

But there were no further goals from the wasteful Kenyan 'Harambee Stars' and they face a tougher than expected task in Moroni.

Another surprise was the failure of recently crowned African Nations Championship (CHAN) winners Libya to overcome Rwanda in Tunis with the game finishing goalless.

The 'Mediterranean Knights' are placed 12th in Africa by FIFA, but were denied automatic entry to the group stage because Africa Cup rankings are based on results in the competition.

Now Libya face a fight for survival in Kigali having been forced to move their home match to the Stade Olympique because of post-Moamer Kadhafi security problems.

Central African Republic were another side affected by internal conflict and could only draw 0-0 with minnows Guinea-Bissau in Congolese capital Brazzaville.

Goals were scarce with 13 matches producing only 19 -- an average of 1.46 -- and five were scored by Mozambique.

The 'Mambas' (snakes) showed no mercy to Cup of Nations debutants South Sudan with a 5-0 triumph at Estadio Zimpeto in Maputo.

Josimar Machaisse triggered the rout with a goal after 12 minutes and Edson 'Mexer' Sitoe and Apson 'Sonito' Manjate also netted during the opening half.

Manjate struck again after the break and Isac Carvalho completed a rare big victory for the Mozambicans six minutes from time.

South Sudan are another side unable to play at home because of civil unrest and the return match is scheduled for Khartoum, capital of neighbouring Sudan.

Suleiman Sesay gave Sierra Leone a dream start in Swaziland with a second-minute goal, but Sidumo Shongwe netted during the second half to force a 1-1 draw in Lobamba.

An early John Bocco goal earned Tanzania a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in Dar es Salaam and captain Anthony Laffor was the target as Liberia edged Lesotho 1-0 in Monrovia.

Botswana held Burundi 0-0 in Bujumbura after having defender Oscar Ncenga red-carded 10 minutes from time.

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