Ethiopia closer to Cup berth

Nigeria, Senegal and surprise package Ethiopia reached the final play-offs for the World Cup after winning last-round group games on Saturday. Tunisia crashed out and will miss Brazil 2014 after being shocked at home by Cape Verde Islands.

The North Africans saw their World Cup dream disappear at the very end of the main qualifying competition with a painful 0-2 loss in Rades, and the Cape Verdeans continued their breakthrough year after playing in their first African Cup at the start of 2013.
Burkina Faso also kept their hopes of playing in Brazil alive by beating Gabon and overtaking Republic of Congo late in the race to make the decisive 10-team ties starting next month. Five teams will eventually emerge from those play-offs in October and November to represent Africa at world football’s showpiece.
The five countries that qualified on Saturday joined top-ranked African team Ivory Coast, Egypt and Algeria, who had already won their groups, and Ghana, who progressed on Friday. Cameroon and Libya face off in a last winner-take-all game in Yaounde late on Sunday for the final play-off spot.
African champions Nigeria saw off Malawi 2-0 in Calabar through goals early in the second half from Europe-based forwards Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses, ending a tense stand-off between the countries in the leadup to the game. Malawi coach Tom Saintfiet reported Nigeria rival Stephen Keshi to Fifa over alleged racist comments ahead of their matchup to decide Group F.
Ethiopia came from behind with two second-half goals to win 2-1 over Central African Republic in neutral Republic of Congo to qualify from Group A, eliminating 2010 World Cup host South Africa, who beat Botswana 4-1 in vain. Ethiopia’s winner came, ironically, from Minyahile Beyene, the player whose presence in an earlier qualifier while suspended led to Ethiopia forfeiting a game and having their progression put on hold.
Tunisia led Group B and was overwhelming favourite to qualify, needing just a draw at home to Cape Verde. But the islanders scored twice in the first half and the Tunisians couldn’t come back.
Senegal did avoid a surprise loss to Uganda in neutral Marrakech to qualify, and clinched a 1-0 victory late on with Sadio Mane’s 84th-minute winner.

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