On Monday, Nigeria triumphed in a replay of a devastating Africa Cup of Nations qualification loss to Guinea-Bissau three days prior. Algeria edged Niger to secure a spot in the finals.
Moses Simon scored the only goal for Nigeria, managing to convert a penalty to a 1-0 victory in Bissau, converting a penalty in the 30th minute after Fali Cande fouled Bright Osayi-Samuel.
Jonas Mendes, the goalie, dove in the opposite direction as Simon drilled the penalty shot into the right corner of the goal.
Nigeria was out for blood after losing to considerably lower-ranked Guinea-Bissau in Abuja last Friday by a single goal, and they were desperate for vengeance.
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As the hour mark drew near, prolific Napoli scorer Victor Osimhen manoeuvred cleverly in the penalty area only to see his low shot deflect off the far post.
Following the disaster in Abuja, Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro made five changes, promoting Nice striker Terem Moffi to the starting lineup.
However, after failing to make an impression, the 15-goal Ligue 1 striker was replaced midway through the second half.
With nine points after four matches and a victory, Nigeria moved back into first place, ahead of Guinea-Bissau (seven), Sierra Leone (five), and Sao Tome & Principe (one).
Algeria had to work hard to defeat Niger for the second time in five days. A goal from Baghdad Bounedjah in the sixth minute gave Algeria a victory close to Tunis.
Riyad Mahrez, a winger for Manchester City, set up the game-winner after his late goal gave his team a 2-1 victory in Algiers the previous week.
For the rematch, head coach Djamel Belmadi only kept Mahrez, Ismael Bennacer of AC Milan, and Andy Delort of Nantes.
With 12 points in Group F, Algeria is guaranteed a top-two finish and a spot in the finals in January and February of the following year.
- Valuable Ghana Point
The 2022 World Cup semifinalists Morocco and the Ivory Coast, assured a spot as hosts, were shocked qualifiers for the 24-nation competition. The Desert Foxes became the third team to qualify.
Tanzania leads the three-way competition for the other sectional ticket to Abidjan with four points, Niger with two, and Uganda with one.
Ghana secured a crucial Group E point by drawing with Angola in Luanda, where Osman Bukari equalized a Lucas Joao goal off a penalty just after halftime.
Less than 60 seconds after entering the game as a replacement, Serbian-born Bukari scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute.
After defeating Madagascar 2-0 in Douala, the Central African Republic, one of the ten nations that never made it to the Cup of Nations, passed Angola to take over second place.
Louis Mafouta scored a brace against the Indian Sea coast last week and reiterated the accomplishment as the Wild Beasts finished a double.
With the final round planned for June and September, Madagascar has one point, the Central African Republic has seven, Ghana has eight, Angola has five, and Madagascar has seven points.
South Sudan, another team seeking a maiden appearance at the African football extravaganza, suffered a Group G setback after allowing a late goal to lose 1-0 against Congo Brazzaville.
The Bright Stars suffered their third loss in their previous four games, dropping them to the bottom of the standings, six points behind the leader's Mali and three below second-placed Congo.
Guinea led Group D kudos to a 3-2 triumph over Ethiopia in Rabat, with Liverpool midfield player Naby Keita scoring the winners' first goal only after four minutes back after failing to defend against Congo Brazzaville and ending up conceding 1-0