JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Ethiopia caused the first real shock of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers when they came from behind to stun the Ivory Coast with a 2-1 victory in their Group K clash in Bahir Dar on Tuesday.
Serge Aurier gave the Ivorians an early lead when he knocked in a rebound after Max Gradel’s free kick had been parried into his path by home goalkeeper Abel Mamo.
Yet Ethiopia were level on 16 minutes as Surafel Dagnachew’s free kick was deflected in off the wall, before Shemeles Bekele shrugged off two defenders, and a shout for handball, to score the winner midway through the opening period.
Madagascar continued their fine recent form in the other game in the pool with a thumping 6-2 victory over Niger in Niamey.
The win is the biggest ever on the road in Nations Cup qualifiers for Madagascar and puts them top of the group with a full haul of six points from their two games.
Madagascar were 4-1 up at halftime thanks to a brace by Lalaina Nomenjanahary, and goals from Anicet (penalty) and Andria.
Paulin Voavy and Jerome Mombris added two more in the second period.
Niger had taken an early lead through Amadou Wonkoye before being stung by six unanswered goals. Yusif Moussa grabbed a late consolation for them.
A brace from striker Khama Billiat sealed a precious 2-1 away victory for Zimbabwe in Zambia.
Patson Daka had equalised for the Zambians in the opening period, but Billiat profited from a defensive lapse to net the winner 10 minutes from fulltime.
Noussair Mazraoui scored a first ever goal for Morocco as they eased to a 3-0 victory in Burundi, with Youssef En-Nesyri and Achraf Hakimi netting the others.
The other match in Group E saw Mauritania claim a 2-0 home win over Central African Republic as Moctar El Hacen and Diallo Guidileye scored.
Wahbi Khazri scored the only goal as Tunisia moved to the top of Group J with a full haul of six points following victory over Equatorial Guinea in Malabo.
In the other game in the pool, Libya rallied from a goal down to defeat Tanzania 2-1 in neutral Monastir.
Mbwana Samata put Tanzania ahead with a penalty in the first half, before the home side were also awarded a spot-kick that Sand Masaud converted. Anis Saltou netted the winner on 81 minutes.