Algeria and Burkina Faso moved toe to toe on top of Group A in the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after both picked wins in their third group matches on Friday.
At the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida, Algeria stretched their unbeaten run to 30 matches with Riyad Mahrez and Islam Silimani netting twice as they beat Niger 6-1. In Marrakech, Burkina Faso were 4-0 winners over Djibouti who are playing their home matches in the Moroccan city.
With the result, Algeria and Burkina Faso are on seven points after three matches, with Les Fennecs sitting top of the group with a better goal aggregate.
In Blida, Niger had started the match well and were causing Algeria all sorts of problems with Amadou Wonkoye coming close after five minutes, his shot from a tight angle being punched away by Rais Mbohli.
But despite all their positive start, Niger found themselves trailing after 27 minutes and it was courtesy of a sensational Mahrez freekick struck from 35 yards out. The Manchester City forward was fouled and took the duties himself, curling the ball beyond the wall for the opener.
Niger came close to responding immediately two minutes later, but Daniel Sosah’s shot from the left went just wide.
In the second half, the Algerians doubled their tally just two minutes after the restart when Youssef Oumarou turned the ball into his own net.
Niger halved the deficit to give themselves some hope of a comeback with Sosah scoring three minutes later, but the dream was scuttled on the hour mark when Mahrez completed his brace from the penalty spot.
Zakaryia Souleymane then turned the ball into his own net for a second own goal as he tried to cut away a Mahrez cross in the 70th minute as Islam Silimani came off the bench to score the fifth and sixth for the African champions in the 76th and 88th minutes.
Djibouti 0-4 Burkina Faso
Meanwhile in Marrakech, Abdoul Tapsoba scored twice in Les Stallions’ massive win over Djibouti. Tapsoba broke the deadlock in the second minute of added time in the first half before he added the second three minutes after the restart.
The Burkinabes continued their dominance and they were 3-0 up after 51 minutes when Issa Kabore finished off from close range after Tapsoba’s execution of a shot failed as he slipped and fell.
They scored the fourth on the hour mark when Mohamed Konate simply slid the ball beneath the keeper after racing to a Zakaria Sanogo through pass.
Djibouti remains without a point in the group after losing all their three matches while Niger are third with three points off just one win.