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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 11, 2009

African Qualifiers: Nigeria hang by a thread

A last gasp strike from Victor Obinna kept Nigeria's slim hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup finals alive after they stole all the points with a 1-0 win over Mozambique. However, the Super Eagles will be relying heavily on the other result in Group B when the last round of matches come around next month after leaders Tunisia also won by the same margin against Kenya. The north Africans, though, were looking assured of a place in South Africa heading into the third minute of stoppage time in Abuja.

That is when the hosts finally broke their visitors' resistance thanks to substitute Obinna. Peter Odemwingie's cross from the left caused mayhem in the Mozambican penalty area, with goalkeeper Joao Kampango only managing to parry a shot from Obafemi Martins and Malaga striker Obinna found himself in the right place at the right time to finish from close range.

In Rades, a seventh minute goal from Issam Jomaa was enough to give Tunisia a 1-0 win over bottom-placed Kenya. The three points for the Cartage Eagles keeps them two points clear of their west African rivals at the top of the pool.

Mozambique, who host the Tunisians on the final matchday, have four points and hold the all-important third qualifying spot for the 2010 African Nations Cup - the top three teams in each of the five groups will seal their place at the finals in Angola - while Nigeria's final round opponents, Kenya, are on three points.

Ghana, the first African side to qualify for the World Cup, went down 1-0 to Benin in Cotonou. Mohamed Aoudou scored the only goal in second half stoppage time to hand the Black Stars their first defeat in Group D. The win for the Squirrels helped them confirm their place at next year's continental championships after they moved onto seven points, one behind Mali, who beat 10-man Sudan 1-0 in Bamako.

Saeed Balla was sent off after 41 minutes at the Stade du 26 Mars, but it did not stop the Desert Hawks from putting on a dogged defensive display. However, their resistance was eventually ended in the final minute of normal time when Frederic Kanoute's goal stole all the points for his side.

There was plenty of drama in Group C, where leaders Algeria were handed a massive scare before eventually fighting from a goal down to overcome Rwanda 3-1.

After Malisango Mutesa (20) handed the visitors the lead, Abdelkader Ghezzal equalised two minutes later. Nadir Belhadj (45) then gave the hosts the lead on the stroke of half-time, before Karim Ziani netted a 90th minute penalty to cap a vital win.

The three points now moves the Desert Foxes three points clear of Egypt at the top of the pool, which is now set to be decided on the final matchday when the two north African rivals meet in Cairo.

In Group E, a brace from Moumouni Dagano helped Burkina Faso assure themselves a second-place finish behind the Ivory Coast after a 2-1 win over Guinea in Accra.

The Al-Khor striker opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 37 minutes, before doubling the advantage on the hour mark. Mamadou Bah (83) pulled a goal back late on, but it was not enough as the Guineans suffered their fourth loss in five games.

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