Africa Cup of Nations: Wins for Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Gabon
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored a stunning individual goal to help Egypt beat eSwatini 4-1 in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Cairo.
Salah took a corner-kick on the stroke of half-time and curled it directly into the net to put the Pharaohs 4-0 up going into the break.
Earlier, goals from Ahmed El Mohamady, Amr Warda and Mohamed “Trezeguet” Hassan had given Egypt a comfortable lead.
The visitors scored a consolation goal through Sibonginkhosi Gamedze five minutes from time.
The result kick-starts Egypt’s qualifying campaign, putting them level on points with Group J leaders Tunisia who host Niger on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Manchester United’s beleaguered defender Eric Bailly fared better in an Ivory Coast top, helping the Elephants beat Central African Republic 4-0 to revive their Group H campaign.
Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia put Ivory Coast ahead before Bailly made it 2-nil. Cheick Doukoure and Maxwell Cornet added to the scoreline to give Ivory Coast a much-needed victory.
They are now second in the group behind Guinea who were 2-0 winners over Rwanda courtesy of a first half Francois Kamano penalty and a goal from Ibrahima Cisse.
African champions Cameroon edged past Malawi 1-0 to earn Dutch coach Clarence Seedorf his first win in charge of the Indomitable Lions.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the only goal of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier just after the hour mark.
The captain held off two Malawi defenders to score with a powerful shot from just outside the area.
Cameroon, who qualify for the Nations Cup automatically as hosts, move to seven points from three matches while Malawi remain on three points.
Choupo-Moting was one of several players who turned down the chance to play for Cameroon as they won the Nations Cup in Gabon last year.
The other two sides in Group B are Morocco and Comoros who play each other on Saturday and again next Tuesday.
Togo, without talismanic striker Emanuel Adebayor in the side, hit a late equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to The Gambia in Group D.
Assan Ceesay had given the Gambians an early lead with Ahoueke Denkey snatching an 85th minute equaliser for the hosts.
The top two in Group D, Algeria and Benin, were set to meet in a late match on Friday.
A Ricardo Gomes brace helped Cape Verde beat Tanzania 3-0 at home to go level on points with Group L leaders Uganda who host Lesotho on Saturday.
Gabon got their first win of the Nations Cup qualifying with a comfortable 3-0 win over South Sudan in Libreville.
Dennis Bouanga gave the Panthers the lead on the half-hour mark and then Aaron Appindangoyé added a second 30 minutes later.
The third goal was an unfortunate own goal from Hasan Martin as the ball ricocheted off his thigh when keeper Juma Awad parried the ball into his path making a save.
It was former Gabon international Daniel Cousin’s first game in charge after replacing Jose Antonio Camacho.
The win takes Gabon to four points in Group C and leaves South Sudan pointless after three matches.
Angola recovered from going a goal down to beat Mauritania 4-1 in Luanda in a Group I clash.
Moktar Al Hacen shcoked the home fans after just three minutes by giving Mauritania the lead before Angola captain Mateus scored twice in three minutes.
Both of his goals came as the result of defensive errors first he scored from the penalty spot as a defender was forced to commit a foul after giving the ball away in the area.
Mauritania then failed to clear the ball properly allowing Mateus to volley home from outside the area.
Djalma and Gelson Dala completed the victory with a goal each in the second half.
Angola now move to six points in the group level with Mauritania after three games.
All the teams playing on Friday play each other again in the reverse qualifiers on Tuesday 16 October.