Cape Verde Islands and Congo DR took major steps towards securing their places in the final round of 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying by posting 4-0 victories over Madagascar and Seychelles in the away legs of their qualifiers today.
Dady and Ryan Mendes set Cape Verde on their way with first-half goals in Antananarivo and Fernando Varela and Toni Varela netted in the final ten minutes to seal the victory. Dioko Kaluyituka, meanwhile, bagged a hat-trick in Congo DR's triumph, with Mabi Mputu also on the scoresheet for the visitors in Victoria.
It has been barely over two weeks since Zambia beat Côte d'Ivoire on penalties to win this year's Cup of Nations in Libreville, but there are less than 12 months until the 2013 tournament kicks-off in South Africa as a result of the event moving to odd-numbered years to avoid future clashes with the FIFA World Cup™.
None of the teams who played in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea are involved in the first round of qualifying, but there were still plenty of big names in action today. Nigeria will be favourites to advance against Rwanda despite being held to a goalless draw by Rwanda in Kigali, the Super Eagles playing their first competitive game under new coach Stephen Keshi.
The match between Ethiopia and Benin also ended goalless, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's last-gasp strike earned Cameroon a 1-0 away win over Guinea Bissau. Togo's hopes of progressing were dented, on the other hand, after a 2-1 defeat in Kenya, with Allan Wanga grabbing the decisive goal in Nairobi.
Algeria come back
Algeria came from behind to beat Gambia 2-1 in Banjul. Momodou Ceesay opened the scoring for the hosts but two goals in three second-half minutes from Antar Yahia and Sofiane Feghouli turned the game on its head.
Elsewhere, Tanzania drew 1-1 with Mozambique, Chad were 3-2 winners against Malawi, Congo overcame Uganda 3-1, Liberia edged Namibia 1-0 and Sao Tome e Principe beat Sierra Leone 2-1. The return legs will be played in June.