Mauritania, Ethiopia qualify for Africa Cup of Nations

 

Mauritania won, and Ethiopia was trailing in an abandoned match as they secured places Tuesday at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, raising the number of qualifiers to 21 for the 24-team tournament.

Ethiopia lost 3-1 to already-qualified Ivory Coast in Abidjan after 80 minutes when the Ghanaian referee suddenly collapsed. The visiting team refused to continue under the fourth official, an Ivorian.

The Ivorian was a late pre-match replacement after the original referee from Ghana withdrew, leading to his compatriot being promoted from the fourth official to match referee.

 

Madagascar needed maximum points to overtake Ethiopia in Group K, but the Indian Ocean side was held 0-0 by Niger in Toamasina.

In Abidjan, the Ivorians quickly built a two-goal advantage as Willy Boly scored and Franck Kessie converted a penalty.

 

Getaneh Kebede halved the deficit on 74 minutes only for Jean Kouassi to score the third goal for the Ivory Coast almost immediately.

 

Madagascar, who surprisingly reached the Cup of Nations quarter-finals when they debuted two years ago, attacked relentlessly but could not break down Niger, who conceded six goals when the sides last met.

 

Aboubakar Kamara scored a goal during the first half, which earned Mauritania a 1-0 victory over the Central African Republic and the second qualifying place in Group E behind Morocco.

 

This will be the second successive appearance at the finals of the premier African national team competition for the Mauritanians, whose coach is  Frenchman Corentin Martins.

 

The remaining three places will be filed later today with Congo Brazzaville and Guinea-Bissau (Group I), Sierra Leone and Benin (Group L), Cape Verde, Rwanda, and Mozambique (Group F) in contention.

 

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe are the other qualifiers.

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