Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt reached the play-offs in the African qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ after wins over Tanzania and Mozambique..
A 4-2 win in Tanzania result gave Côte d'Ivoire from west Africa an unassailable five-point Group C lead over Morocco, who triumphed 2-0 against bottom side Gambia in Marrakech yesterday. Substitute Wilfried Bony sealed victory for the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a goal three minutes into stoppage time at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Indian Ocean city Dar es Salaam.
The other five goals came in a thrilling first half with Amri Kiemba giving Tanzania the lead on two minutes and Russia-based beanpole striker Lacina Traore levelling. Reigning African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure nudged the visitors in front midway through the half, before Thomas Ulimwengu equalised and Toure struck again by converting a penalty just before half-time.
Salah helped Swiss club Basel reach the Europa League semi-finals this year and he was once again the star for Egypt, scoring the only goal in the Mozambican capital five minutes before half-time.
The 'Pharaohs' maintained the only perfect record in the African qualifying competition with a fifth consecutive victory and finish their schedule at home to second-place Guinea.
Ghana, who were quarter-finalists the last FIFA World Cup, took a significant step toward reaching the play-offs with a 2-0 win over Lesotho in Maseru thanks to goals from Christian Atsu and captain Asamoah Gyan.
The 'Black Stars' moved one point ahead of Zambia in Group D and host the shock 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations champions in the final series of mini-league fixtures during September.
South Africa stunned
A spectacular own goal by Bernard Parker gifted lowest Group A seeds Ethiopia a 2-1 triumph over the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa in Addis Ababa and an unassailable five-point lead with one round left.
South Africa took on Ethiopia before a sell-out 25,000 crowd needing at least a point to stay in contention and an attacking approach paid off on 34 minutes when Parker cracked a half-volley wide of Jemal Tassew into the far corner.
But the 'Walyas Antelopes' - 19 places below Bafana Bafana (The Boys) on the African rankings - levelled just before half-time when Getaneh Kebede rifled the ball into the net from close range after a scramble.
The decisive goal came after 70 minutes when Parker fluffed an attempted clearance off an Ethiopian free kick, sending a flying header past goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune into his sown net.
South Africa had several late half-chances but it was Ethiopia, who returned to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament this year after three decades in the doldrums, who came closest to scoring.
Elsewhere, Congo DR and six-time FIFA World Cup qualifiers Cameroon drew 0-0 in Kinshasa - a result that eliminated the Congolese and left Libya with a two-point Group I lead.
While new 'Indomitable Lions' coach Volker Finke will be relieved at avoiding a second loss in as many weeks after a 2-0 defeat by Togo, the absence of injured striker Samuel Eto'o was sorely felt.
Saphir Taider scored early in the second half as Algeria triumphed 1-0 in Rwanda and Mali must beat Benin in Bamako later Sunday to prevent the 'Desert Foxes' making the play-offs
Tunisia needed a point in Equatorial Guinea to secure first place in Group B and that is what they got from a 1-1 draw with Oussama Darragi equalising for the 'Carthage Eagles'. Juvenal Edjogo converted a first-half penalty for the Equatoguineans in Malabo -- his fourth goal of the qualifying campaign -- and Darragi brought Tunisia level on 64 minutes from another spot kick.
A Mali side that has struggled since French coach Patrice Carteron left needed to come from behind twice to hold Benin 2-2.