Mohamed Salah’s blistering early-season form for Liverpool meant nothing for Egypt as it slipped to a surprise 1-0 loss in Uganda in World Cup qualifying.
That dented Egypt’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Naby Keita, who’s heading to Liverpool to join up with Salah next season, had a tumultuous game for Guinea as it beat Libya 3-2 in a thriller, with three goals coming in the last seven minutes. With Keita in the thick of the action, Guinea squandered a 2-0 lead before winning three minutes into injury time.
Uganda-Egypt and Guinea-Libya were the only two World Cup qualifiers in Africa on Thursday, but they kicked off a frenetic six-day period when 20 games will be played across the continent in the five qualifying groups. Only the five group winners will reach next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Here’s a roundup of Thursday’s action:
Keita scored the opener for Guinea against Libya but the midfielder missed a 72nd-minute penalty that would have put Guinea 3-0 up at home in Conakry and likely killed off any Libyan hopes of a comeback.
Instead, Keita’s spot-kick was blocked by Libya goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnush’s feet, and Libya was reinvigorated. Motasem Sabbou scored in the 87th minute and Akram Zuway in the 88th and Libya was level at 2-2.
Alkhali Bangoura snatched the winner for Guinea in the third minute of injury time, giving the Guineans their first win of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Halfway through their campaigns, Libya is last and Guinea third in Group A. Congo and Tunisia, both with two wins from two, meet in Rades, Tunisia, on Friday.
Salah had a good chance to equalize for Egypt away in Kampala but couldn’t beat Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango with a 63rd-minute header.
Uganda striker Emmanuel Okwi, who plays in the Tanzanian league, upstaged the Liverpool winger with the winner early in the second half, sending Uganda above Egypt and top of Group E by a point. Egypt has the chance of revenge straightaway when it hosts Uganda in Alexandria on Tuesday.
Ghana, without a win from two games, has the chance to get its campaign going when it plays Republic of Congo on Friday in Group E’s other matchup.
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