2014 World Cup qualifiers
Rwanda 1-2 Mali
Kenya 1-1 Nigeria
Tanzania 3-1 Morocco
Ethiopia 1-0 Botswana
DRC 0-0 Libya
S. Africa 2-0 CAR
Lesotho 1-1 Zambia
Cote d’Ivoire 3-0 Gambia
Cameroon 2-0 Togo
Tunisia 2-1 Sierra Leone
Senegal 1-1 Angola
Burkina Faso 4-0 Niger
HOPES of qualifying to the second round of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign were blown off after Rwanda lost the decisive Group H match against Mali yesterday at Amahoro stadium.
The Amavubi side was tipped to beat Eagles of Mali and their first half performance suggested that Rwanda was on the brick of registering long-earned victory at home in recent years.
Striker Meddie Kagere gave home fans something to smile about with a good finish past Mali’s goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite in the 37th minute after connecting a good cross from Cyprus-based Edwin Ouon who played a pivotal role for Amavubi in the midfield.
The steady Malian custodian was forced to make alot of saves from Fabrice Twagizimana, Kagere and Dady Birori as Amavubi missed several goal scoring opportunities which came to haunt them in the second half.
Seydou Keita and Samassa Mamahadou had their attempts put on bay by Jean Claude Ndoli towards the end of the first half as they searched for an equaliser.
Mali, third behind Nigeria and Burkina Faso at the recent Cup of Nations in South Africa, returned back after recess rejuvenated and scored two quick goals in a space of nine minutes.
Samassa equalised from Keita’s curling free kick beating off stiff challenge from Ouon to brush a neat ball past Ndoli in 50th minute.
Amavubi’s midfield and defense lost concentration to gift Abdou Traore with brilliant strike after playing a double pass with Sissoko four minutes later.
Coach Milutin Sredojovic Micho brought on Elias Uzamukunda to replace Olivier Karekezi and Reinford Jessy for defensive midfielder Fabrice Twagizimana to add some bite to the Amavubi, but to no vail.
Mali’s coach Patrice Carteron decided to contain the game with twenty minutes to go by introducing fresh legs of Mana Dembele, Salif Coulibaly and Sigamary Diarra.
The changes never slowed down Amavubi’s quest for an equaliser. They decided to pour foward for the equaliser which didn’t come even though they created and missed more chances from Birori, Kagere and Uzamukunda.
As the game got to the closing stages, the Eagles calmly resorted to set pieces, winning over the midfield.
Micho said, “We started well, but failed to contain well in defence. Winning over set-pieces has been one of our chronical problems. This is our reality and it is the best we could do,” added disappointed Serb.
Carteron was a happy man saying that they are going to make use of the home matches to be able to qualify to next year’s World Cup finals.
“We started poorly, but I told the team to settle and pile more pressure. The result is a good motivator for us to ensure that we qualify by winning all our home matches,”added the coach.
This dissapointing loss, coupled with a loss against Algeria and a draw against Benin, means Rwanda is out of the running for Brazil.
The impressive victory puts the Eagles on top of Group H with six points and boosts their bid to travel to Brazil next year. The other Group C match between Algeria and Benin is set to take place on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Ethiopia snatched a dramatic 1-0 home victory over Botswana to keep alive hopes of a first appearance at the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Substitute Getaneh Kebede snatched the lone goal two minutes from time in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia returned to the top of Group A with seven points, two more than overnight leaders South Africa, who overcame Central African Republic 2-0 in Cape Town thanks to goals from Thabo Matlaba and Bernard Parker.
Tanzania scored three second-half goals to thrash four-time World Cup qualifiers Morocco 3-1 in Dar es Salaam and climb to within a point of Group C pacesetters Ivory Coast. Thomas Ulimwengu broke the deadlock a minute after half-time and there was a brace for Mbwana Samata before Youssef El Arabi reduced arrears four minutes into stoppage time.
Litsebe Marabe levelled a minute from time to give minnows Lesotho a 1-1 draw with 2012 African champions Zambia in Maseru after Collins Mbesuma opened the scoring entering the closing stages. The failure to collect maximum points was a bitter blow for Zambia, who stay top of Group D with seven points.
African champions Nigeria snatched a dramatic draw against Kenya on Saturday in Calabar. Substitute Nnamdi Oduamadi scored three minutes into stoppage time to cancel out Francis Kahata’s first half free-kick for Kenya.
It was the second draw in three games in World Cup qualifying for the Super Eagles who have five points. They are level with Malawi who beat Namibia 1-0 in Windhoek.
Burkina Faso trounced Niger 4-0 at home in a must-win match, although the impact was diluted as group leaders Congo Brazzaville also won.