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Nigeria lose World Cup qualifier, Ghana and Algeria win, Egypt held

NIGERIA’S World Cup qualifying hopes took a heavy blow with a 2-1 defeat by Benin, but Ghana and Algeria salvaged wins while Egypt drew after all three were behind at halftime.

Ghana’s Jordan Ayew got a hat-trick as they beat the Central African Republic 4-3 in Kumasi after trailing 2-1 at the break, while Algeria were 1-0 down to Uganda in Kampala but second-half goals from Houssem Aouar and Said Benrahma secured a 2-1 win.

Mohamed Salah came to Egypt’s rescue with a sensational equaliser for a 1-1 draw in Guinea Bissau.

Nigeria lost away to Benin, who were forced to move the match to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast because their own stadium in Cotonou was declared unfit for use in international games.

Nigeria were ahead when Raphael Onyedika netted in the 27th minute, hesitating at first before squeezing the ball home, but Benin bounced back with goals by Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie.

Dossou sprinted onto a breakaway chance to score but hurt his hamstring in the process and had to come off soon after the 37th-minute goal while Mounie had a free back-post header to win the game as he profited from poor Nigeria defending.

The Super Eagles, who were favourites in Group C, have not won any of their opening four group matches and sit on three points while Benin leads with seven.

The victory was particularly sweet for coach Gernort Rohr, sacked by Nigeria three years ago on the eve of taking them to the Africa Cup of Nations finals, and he was carried on the shoulders of his players at the final whistle.

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Ghana battled the rain to stage a spirited comeback with Ayew the hero, after being presented with a commemorative shirt before the match to mark 100 caps.

Ghana moved top of Group I with nine points after the victory, which followed an away triumph in Mali last week where Ayew snatched a late winner.

Egypt have a four-point lead in Group A while Algeria’s away win restored top spot in Group G after Guinea lost 1-0 to a last minute penalty for Mozambique, who join Algeria on nine points.

Botswana are on six points in the group after a 3-1 away win over Somalia.

Only the winners of the nine African groups qualify for the 2026 World Cup in North America but the best runner-up also has a chance for a slot via a lengthy playoff system.

More African qualifiers are being played on Tuesday, which marks the end of the fourth round of group matches.