South Africa went back on top of Group G after a nervy 1-0 win over Ethiopia on Tuesday, as they kept their hopes of a place at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup on track.
The win at home takes Bafana Bafana to 10 points, one ahead of second-placed Ghana who had earlier beaten Zimbabwe via the same margin.
An own goal from Ethiopia skipper Getaneh Kebede in the first half was the luck the South Africans needed to keep their chase for a World Cup spot alive.
Kebede turned the ball into his net in the 10th minute of the game as he attempted to cut away a header from Victor Letsoalo who had risen to meet a corner from Yusuf Maart.
Ethiopia almost equalized in the 17th minute when Mesud Musa cited space from range and took a cracking effort at goal, but it skipped inches over the bar. Seven minutes later, they came very close again when Abubaker Nasser took a shot on the half-turn but the effort went wide again.
In the second half, Ethiopia continued with the chase as South Africa merely held on. But, the home side almost got a reprieve with a second goal but Evidence Makgopa could not connect on goal with an effort from across.
Ethiopia continued pressing to get an equalizer, but their action in the final third failed them.
Niger 0-4 Algeria
In Niamey, African champions Algeria recorded their 31st unbeaten match after beating hosts Niger 4-0 to go level on points with Burkina Faso in Group A and taking the lead on goal aggregate.
Captain Riyad Mahrez provided an assist for Baghdad Bounedjah and scored one with Islam Silimani, and Ismael Bennacer scoring the other three.
Mahrez broke the deadlock in the 20th minute with a well taken low shot inside the box after picking out a cross from Bounedjah. Slimani then scored his 38th international goal for Les Fennecs in the 33rd minute as they went to the break with a two-goal cushion.
In the second half, they kept the dominance with Bennacer adding the third three minutes after the restart before Mahrez turned provider for Bounedjah, the latter sliding in to score across from the Manchester City midfielder.
Congo 1-2 Togo
On a day that Senegal picked the lone ticket to the final qualification round from Group H, Congo and Togo were merely playing for pride and it was the Sparrow Hawks who picked the win away from home, claiming a 2-1 victory.
Meme Placca’s strong header from a freekick three minutes to the break gave Togo a 1-0 halftime lead. However, the hosts fought back in the second half and equalized in the 71st minute through Guy Mbenza.
However, the joy of an equalizer and the hope of a winner were dashed just six minutes later when Ahoueke Steeve Denkey scored the winner for Togo.