It was a difficult Sunday for southern African teams at home as South Africa and Angola played out disappointing 1-1 draws in matches with late goals and Zimbabwe fell to a 1-0 defeat in front of their own supporters. Nigeria got a dramatic strike of their own to ease their worries, while Benin recorded a historic victory over Mali to claim the upperhand in an even group. rounds up all the happenings from seven matches in the African Zone.

Match of the day
South Africa 1-1 Ethiopia
Goals: Katlego Mphela 77; Said Saladin 30
Already under some pressure, South Africa coach Pitso Mosimane will find no respite after the hosts only just salvaged a draw with Ethiopia. One win from nine full internationals has Bafana Bafana reeling, but it could have been worse as the east Africans looked like holding their slender lead through most of the contest thanks to goalkeeper Sesay Basa. The buzzing Saladin was a menace to South Africa’s defence, and took advantage of a sloppy giveaway to finish into the roof of the net. 

Mphela’s late equaliser was a curling goal from outside the area, but it could not change the mood of the sparse Rustenburg crowd even if South Africa did manage to avoid an outright qualifying blunder. Bafana have the chance to get back on track in Group A next weekend with an important contest at neighbours Botswana, while the plucky Ethiopians will look to build on their good play when hosting the group’s surprise leaders Central African Republic.

It was a tough day to find goals in Africa, nowhere more so than in Calabar where Nigeria swarmed Namibia’s defensive third but were forced to wait until ten minutes from time for success. Ike Uche had a number of decent opportunities before finally converting the all-important winner after a great piece of skill controlled the ball and beat a defender. The Brave Warriors lived up to their nickname with a tough defensive performance, but they were worn down by the hosts’ energy and commitment. But coach Stephen Keshi says he will focus on his team’s efficiency after John Utaka also spurned a number of chances. "Teams playing against Nigeria always step up their game," he said. "So I will focus on my attack as we prepare for our next game."

Goals were also nowhere to be found in Group E where Niger and Gabon played out a tense scoreless draw to follow on from yesterday’s surprising 0-0 match between Burkina Faso and Congo in Ouagadougou. Getting anything from this batch of Nigeriens in Niamey is considered an achievement, so the visitors won’t be too disappointed despite beating the Mena earlier this year. 

Also frustrated at home were Zimbabwe, who fell to Guinea in Harare 1-0. Ibrahima Traore was the hero for the visitors with his quality free-kick into the top corner in the 25th minute, but it was also another case of wasted opportunities for the hosts. Germany-based Knowledge Musona had a lurid day in the box, failing to capitalise on a pair of breakaways – one down to the excellent goalkeeping of Naby Yattara – and having a shot saved off the line. Guinea have been on the up since reaching the last Cup of Nations ahead of Nigeria and they keep pace with Egypt in Group G before hosting the Pharaohs next weekend.

Angola and Togo were also cursing their luck after home matches. The Palancas Negras went ahead early against Uganda in Luanda through Djalma Campos and then road their luck all the way to the 87th minute only to falter and let Emmanuel Okwi equalise. Togo’s Kalen Damessi scored in the eighth minute, but Libya responded almost immediately through Ahmed Zouay, and the Hawks could find no luck in trying for the winner. By contrast, Benin were happy hosts, riding Razak Omotoyossi’s confident first half goal to an important 1-0 home victory over Mali in Group H, which is led by Algeria on goal difference.

Player of the day
Razak Omotoyossi (Benin)
Benin had played Mali 12 times officially in the last three decades without ever recording a victory, but 13 was lucky for the Squirrels as Omotoyossi broke an off-side trap, muscled off a defender and beat Soumaila Diakite to the delight of the crowd in Cotonou’s Stade de l'Amitie. One of the top scorers in the 2010 qualifying campaign with eight goals, the Zamalek striker has picked up where he left off despite a long time without club football because of Egypt’s lack of domestic matches and a continental ban.

The stat
9 –
The number of goals scored in seven matches on Sunday, the same number in two matches on Friday. On Saturday, there were 24 goals in 11 contests.

What they said
"The fans should not be disappointed that we did not win by a bigger score, but we will give them something to cheer in our next game in Malawi," Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Results and Fixtures
Friday 1 June
Egypt 2-0 Mozambique
Ghana 7-0 Lesotho

Saturday 2 June
Central African Republic 2-0 Botswana
Sierra Leone 2-1 Cape Verde
Tunisia 3-1 Equatorial Guinea
Gambia 1-1 Morocco
Côte d'Ivoire 2-0 Tanzania
Sudan 2-0 Zambia
Burkina Faso 0-0 Congo
Kenya 0-0 Malawi
Algeria 4-0 Rwanda
Cameroon 1-0 DR Congo
Senegal 3-1 Liberia

Sunday 3 June
South Africa 1-1 Ethiopia
Niger 0-0 Gabon
Nigeria 1-0 Namibia
Zimbabwe 0-1 Guinea
Benin 1-0 Mali
Togo 1-1 Libya
Angola 1-1 Uganda

Saturday 9 June
Malawi - Nigeria    
Botswana - South Africa    
Zambia - Ghana    
Congo - Niger    
Gabon - Burkina Faso    
Uganda - Senegal
Cape Verde Islands - Tunisia    
Equatorial Guinea - Sierra Leone
Namibia - Kenya
Morocco - Côte d'Ivoire

Sunday 10 June
Lesotho - Sudan    
Mozambique - Zimbabwe    
Rwanda - Benin    
Congo DR - Togo    
Ethiopia - Central African Republic    
Tanzania - Gambia    
Liberia - Angola    
Guinea - Egypt    
Libya - Cameroon    
Mali - Algeria