2013 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying Roundup: Who Is Going to South Africa?
Did you know that qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations wrapped up this weekend?
If you didn't, you shouldn't feel too bad. The coverage of the qualifiers were buried by coverage of the World Cup qualifiers, what with Friday's matches still fresh on the mind and the next round on Tuesday fast approaching.
So what happened in these African fixtures? And what does that mean for the tournament in January?
Here's a roundup of all the action this weekend.
Senegal vs. Ivory Coast, Match Abandoned 0-2 (2-6 Aggregate)
Holding a 4-2 lead from the first leg, the Ivory Coast entered the match looking for the kill.
By the 71st minute, Didier Drogba had a double that put the tie well out of reach.
The scenes got very ugly from there, with the crowd in Dakar starting fires in the stands and throwing missiles onto the pitch. By the 76th minute, the Ivorian fans had to flee the stands and invade the pitch for their own safety. The referee was forced to abandon the match, the police were forced to spray the crowd with tear gas and the stadium was evacuated.
If you would like to read more about this, check out the story here.
Needless to say the Senegalese team will face some harsh punishment from this incident, which could effect their status in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
This is a story that should be followed.
Tunisia vs. Sierra Leone 0-0 (2-2 Aggregate), Tunisia Advances on Away Goals
It wasn't the most stylish way to get to the tournament, but Tunisia qualified for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations against Sierra Leone on away goals.
After a 2-2 draw in Freetown, Tunisia played out the home leg to a scoreless draw that sees them qualify for South Africa.
Morocco vs. Mozambique 4-0 (4-2 Aggregate)
While a lopsided scoreline, this 4-0 win was a thrilling victory for Morocco that sent them to South Africa.
Entering the final 30 minutes, Morocco only led the match 1-0, meaning that they still trailed Mozambique 2-1 in the tie.
After a 64th minute strike, the match seemed poised for extra time before two Morocco goals in the last five minutes sealed the tie.
Uganda vs. Zambia 1-0 (1-1 Aggregate), Zambia Win 9-8 on Penalties
It was yet another magical moment for Zambia at the Africa Cup of Nations, as the reigning African champions scored nine consecutive penalties in a shootout to book their place in South Africa.
It was a case of bad luck for Uganda, who dominated the match right up until the penalty kicks.
Considering this 9-8 penalty victory and their 8-7 victory over the Ivory Coast in the 2012 final back in January, there is clearly some aura surrounding this Zambian team.
Nigeria vs. Liberia 6-1 (8-3 Aggregate)
In perhaps the easiest victory of this qualifying round, Nigeria brushed Liberia aside to book their place in South Africa.
The Super Eagles entered the day with an advantage on away goals after the first leg finished 2-2 in Paynesville, but they made quick work of expanding that lead into goals.
Two goals from Victor Moses and one for John Obi Mikel highlighted this drubbing.
Malawi vs. Ghana 0-1 (0-3 Aggregate)
After a 2-0 home win in the first leg, the World Cup quarterfinalists Ghana put away Malawi with a goal in the third minute.
The four-time Africa Cup champions look a threat heading into South Africa.
Botswana vs. Mali 1-4 (1-7 Aggregate)
Mali looked incredibly convincing in their final hurdle of qualifying, destroying Botswana on their way to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
After a 3-0 home win, Mali raced to a 4-0 lead before a last-minute goal finished the tie 7-1 on aggregate.
The 2012 third-place finishers are looking ready to back up their strong showing.
Angola vs. Zimbabwe 2-0 (3-3 Aggregate), Angola Advances on Away Goals
If there was ever a testament to the importance of away goals, this tie is it.
In the first leg in Harare, Zimbabwe raced to a 3-0 lead before half-time, looking in complete control of the tie. However, a second-half strike from Angola's Djalma Campos gave the visitors a lifeline.
On Sunday, the Angolans got off to the best possible start, with a brace from Manucho within seven minutes taking away Zimbabwe's advantage.
Angola saw out the rest of the match, and Zimbabwe went from amazing heights to the exit.
Cameroon vs. Cape Verde Islands 2-1 (2-3 Aggregate)
The return of Samuel Eto'o was not enough for Cameroon to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit to Cape Verde Islands.
A 12th-minute goal from Cape Verde's Nhuck meant that Cameroon were in need of four goals to qualify.
By the end of the match, they had gotten half-way there, but that first goal had proved too much to overcome.
It was a historic win for the Cape Verde Islands, who qualified for the first major tournament in their history.
For Cameroon, it marked the first time they had missed consecutive Africa Cup of Nations in 30 years.
Niger vs. Guinea 2-0 (2-1 Aggregate)
In just one of Sunday's incredible finishes, Niger overcame Guinea with two late goals and qualified right at the death.
With 20 minutes to go, Niger looked destined to be eliminated after having lost 1-0 in the first leg.
A big goal by Mohamed Chikoto in the 74th minute leveled the tie, though, and a huge goal by Issoufou Boubacar Garba in the final five minutes sent Niger into delirium.
Ethiopia vs. Sudan 2-0 (5-5 Aggregate), Ethiopia Advances on Away Goals
It's yet another fantastic ending on Sunday, as Ethiopia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
After the first half of the first leg in Sudan, Ethiopia trailed 5-1. However, two second-half goals had them in with a shot in their home leg.
With half-an-hour to go before their elimination, two goals in three minutes saw Addis Ababa into a frenzy.
It's the first major tournament in 30 years for Ethiopia.
Algeria vs. Libya 2-0 (3-0 Aggregate)
A rare, unexciting second leg from Sunday, Algeria did the business at home to send Libya packing.
That the Algerians entered with a 1-0 lead from the first leg was made all the more important given that it was from an away goal.
Within ten minutes, the Algerians had taken a 2-0 lead on the night and a 3-0 lead on aggregate that had all but put Libya away.
Equatorial Guinea vs. DR Congo 2-1 (2-5 Aggregate)
This one had a bit more drama than one would have expected coming in, but it still ended with a wide gap in the aggregate scoreline.
After a 4-0 victory for the Democratic Republic of Congo at home in the first leg, the tie looked just about over.
However, Equatorial Guinea came out firing, halving the aggregate lead within 35 minutes.
With the tie looking back in the balance, though, DR Congo responded with a goal right before the half. As it was an away goal, it put the home side right back at square one, needing four goals to avoid elimination.
The task proved too great and DR Congo held on for their first qualification since 2006.
Togo vs. Gabon 2-1 (3-2 Aggregate)
Gabon's amazing run in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations will not be repeated this time around, as Togo found a way past them and into the 2013 tournament.
A 1-1 first leg in Gabon had the tie sitting on a knife-edge, but a second-half Emmanuel Adebayor goal gave the Togolese a 2-0 lead that seemed safe.
An 80th minute strike from Gabon's Daniel Cousin put the tie back in the balance, but Togo held on to their lead and are going to South Africa.
Burkina Faso vs. Central African Republic 3-1 (3-2 Aggregate)
Well, so much for the Central African Republic.
Many were abuzz about the talents of this side, who impressively disposed of the 2006, 2008 and 2010 Cup of Nations winners, Egypt, in the first round of qualifying.
Entering the match, CAR were huge favorites, what with their 1-0 home win in the first leg. It showed early, as CAR took the lead through a David Manga strike in the seventh minute. As it was an away goal, this meant that Burkina Faso would need three goals before full time to avoid elimination.
However, the dire circumstances just seemed to wake up Les Etalons, as Alain Traore and Moumouni Dagano pulled two back before halftime.
From there, the Central African Republic seemed to put the match away, pushing the match into stoppage time with the 2-1 scoreline and their lead in the tie intact.
In the sixth minute of stoppage time, though, Burkina Faso pulled off the miracle, as Alain Traore sent the ball into the back of the net and his side to the Cup of Nations and CAR to an elimination that looked so sure to be a historic victory.
So we now have our 16 teams who will be competing in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in January. They are:
South Africa (hosts), Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Morocco, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Mali, Angola, Cape Verde Islands, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Algeria, DR Congo, Togo, Burkina Faso
Who do you think has a shot at glory in South Africa? And what did you think of the qualifiers?
Let me know in the comments below!
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