CAPE TOWN - Didier Drogba scored twice
to maintain the Ivory Coast's perfect start to the 2012 African
Nations Cup qualifiers on Sunday while other top contenders
Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia also won.
Algeria won the eagerly-anticipated north African derby
against Morocco but needed a penalty to take the points.
The Ivorians are now effectively one win away from booking a
place at next January's tournament, to be co-hosted by
Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, after having to come from behind to
beat Benin 2-1 in Accra.
They have won all three matches to open up a five point lead
in Group H.
Forced to play the match in neighbouring Ghana because of
the security situation in their own country, the Ivorians were
behind when a slip by goalkeeper Daniel Yeboah allowed a long
range shot from Seidath Tchomogo to trickle in.
But Drogba, who has spoken before the match of the
importance of a win to lift the mood of the country, equalised
on the stroke of half-time and headed home the winner 15 minutes
from the end.
Ghana, who face a dash from central Africa to London for
their Tuesday friendly against England at Wembley, kept ahead in
their group with a comfortable 3-0 away win in Brazzaville
Prince Tagoe opened the scoring after 20 minutes and Dominic
Adiyiah, who also plays at Partizan Belgrade, nodded in a John
Paintsil cross before the break.
Sulley Muntari, who had been doubtful before the match,
scored within three minutes of coming on as second half
Sudan, who beat Swaziland 3-0 at home on Sunday, are just
behind Ghana in Group I on goal difference.
Peter Utaka and Ike Uche got two goals each for Nigeria in
their 4-0 romp over Ethiopia in Abuja but they are still one
point behind Guinea in Group B.
Guinea equalised only five minutes from time through Mamadou
Bah to draw 1-1 in Madagascar on Sunday.
Goals from James Chamanga and Emmanuel Mayuka ensured a 2-0
win for Zambia away in Mozambique in Group C.
Hassan Yebda's fifth minute penalty gave Algeria a 1-0 win
in the derby against Morocco, played at Annaba. It was a major
boost for the 2010 World Cup finalists, who were bottom of the
group before Sunday's game.
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