Riyad Mahrez scored a fine goal for Algeria in their 2-2 draw with hosts Zimbabwe

Defending champions Algeria gave away a two-goal lead as they were held 2-2 by hosts Zimbabwe.

Despite the draw the Algerians have confirmed their place at the next Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, which have been delayed until 2022.

After goals in the 34th and 38th minutes, including a fine solo effort from Riyad Mahrez, it looked like Algeria would make it four wins from four.

In the 34th Reda Halaimia whipped in a long cross from the right and an unmarked Andy Delort had a straightforward header to score his first goal for Algeria.

Moments later came the brilliance from Manchester City’s Mahrez as he flicked the ball past one defender and then cut into the area before twisting and turning to wrong-foot two defenders and firing home.

The Warriors pulled a goal back two minutes before half-time as striker Knowledge Musona curled in a free kick from the edge of the area to beat Rais M’Bolhi.

That seemed to galvanize Zimbabwe and they created the better chances after the break and were rewarded when Tanzania-based Prince Dube scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute seconds after coming on as a replacement.

He picked up the ball as it was flicked on from a corner and his shot somehow went over the line as M’Bolhi failed to hold the ball for what looked like a routine save.

It was a big improvement from Zimbabwe who had lost 3-1 to Algeria on Thursday evening.

Algeria now have 10 points in Group H, five ahead of Zimbabwe, with both teams having played four matches.

The other two teams in the pool play later on Monday as Botswana host Zambia.

South Sudan 1-0 Uganda; Malawi 0-0 Burkina Faso(Grp B)

South Sudan's players celebrate their goal against Uganda
South Sudan’s players celebrate their goal against Uganda

South Sudan kept alive their hopes of reaching the Nations Cup finals for the first time with a 1-0 win over Uganda in a match that saw both sides reduced to 10 men.

The match was played behind closed doors in the Kenyan capital Nairobi as South Sudan’s national stadium is being renovated.

Uganda were the first side to have a man sent off as Khalid Aucho was shown a straight red card for a foul on Tito Okello after just 32 minutes.

Three minutes later South Sudan took the lead as Okello converted from the penalty spot after Makuweth Wol was fouled in the area.

The Cranes had a goal ruled out on the hour mark as Emmanuel Okwi was flagged for offside.

South Sudan were also reduced to ten men for the closing stages as Musa Abdallah was dismissed for a wild lunge on Okwi.

Monday’s other Group B game ended in a stalemate as Malawi drew 0-0 with visiting Burkina Faso in Blantyre in a game with very few chances.

Burkina Faso missed two good chances in the dying minutes when Mohane Outarra headed wide from inside the six yard box and then Bertrand Traore beat the Malawi defence but not the goalkeeper.

Those results mean that Burkina Faso are top with eight points, Uganda have seven, Malawi four and South Sudan three with all the teams having played four matches.

Sao Tome and Principe 2-4 South Africa (Grp C)

Percy Tau in action for his Belgian side Anderlecht
Anderlecht’s Percy Tau scored twice for South Africa in their win over Sao Tome

Sao Tome made a promising start to their must win game against South Africa as they took the lead after 12 minutes but eventually lost 4-2.

The game was played in the South African City of Port Elizabeth after the two nations agreed to move it from Sao Tome to make Covid-19 protocols easier to follow.

Sao Tome’s first goal was scored by captain Jocy as he met a corner from Georgia-based Jardel Nazare with a glancing header.

South Africa’s equalizer came in the 39th minute when the Sao Tome defence pushed forward which allowed Dean Furman to slide a ball through to Themba Zwane, who turned and slotted home.

Bafana Bafana went ahead in the 70th minute when Zwane turned provider for Percy Tau, who was afforded too much space in the area and was able to score from 10 yards out.

‘The hosts’ then equalised themselves as Portugal-based Soares Harramiz was left unmarked at the back post and was allowed a free header back across keeper Ronwen Williams.

South Africa’s lead was restored in the 87th minute when the Sao Tome keeper could only parry a shot from substitute Kermit Erasmus into the path of Zwane, who tapped home.

Tau made sure of the win in injury time as Sao Tome pushed for another equaliser he hit them on the counter-attack and he struck from just inside the area.

The win lifts South Africa to nine points from four matches and leaves Sao Tome pointless and unable to qualify for the Nations Cup finals in Cameroon.

Eswatini 0-0 Congo (Grp I)

Eswatini are another team that can no longer reach the Nations Cup finals as they drew 0-0 with visiting Congo-Brazzaville.

The point moves Congo onto seven points and keeps them in second place in the group five points behind Senegal who have already qualified from Group I.

The Teranga Lions sealed their place with Sunday’s 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, who have three points and can still claim the second qualifying place for the finals with two games to play.

Monday’s matches:

  • Eswatini 0-0 Congo (Grp I)
  • Malawi 0-0 Burkina Faso (Grp B)
  • South Sudan 1-0 Uganda (Grp B)
  • Sao Tome and Principe 2-4 South Africa (Grp C)
  • Zimbabwe 2-2 Algeria (Grp H)
  • 16:00 Botswana v Zambia (Grp H)
  • 16:00 Gambia v Gabon (Grp C)
  • 16:00 Mozambique v Cameroon (Grp F)