Egypt finished top of Group G in the qualifiers for next year’s Total Africa Cup of Nations [AFCON] while Kenya, Angola and DR Congo finished off with consolation victories after failing to qualify.
In Cairo, a Mohamed Salah brace with two other goals from Mohamed Sherif and Mohamed Elneny saw Egypt overpower Comoros 4-0 as they finished on cruising altitude, concluding the qualifiers with 12 points and an unbeaten run.
The Egyptians looked set and determined to pick a win and finished top of the group and within the opening 25 minutes, they were already 4-0 up.
Mohamed Elneny who didn’t come off the bench against Kenya last Thursday opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a delightful finish, curling the ball beyond the keeper after a quick start to a corner saw him well positioned at the edge of the box.
Two minutes later, The Pharaohs were 2-0 up, Mohamed Sherif scoring with a simple finish one on one with the keeper. Comoros captain Nadjim Abdou had lost the ball cheaply with Mohamed Magdy Afsha picking up and sliding his teammate through.
In the 21st minute, Egypt were cruising with Salah scoring his first goal of the qualifiers with a well curled effort into the top left after a cutback from Mohamed Sherif.
Four minutes later, the Liverpool man completed his brace after rounding off the keeper and tapping into an empty net with Afsha registering his second assist of the evening.
Comoros had some two chances to get a goal before the break, first Faiz Selemani’s attempt with a long range freekick being well handled by Mohamed Elshenawy in the 27th minute.
Five minutes to the break, the Al Ahly keeper made a smart low save at his near post to deny Nasser Chamed.
Comoros put up a second half fight, but couldn’t get a goal to their credit, but didn’t worry much as their qualification was already sealed.
Togo 1-2 Kenya
Elsewhere in Lome, Kenya’s Harambee Stars finished off the group phase with victory and cemented third spot after a 2-1 win over hosts Togo.
Abdallah Hassan and Masud Juma had the goals for Kenya while Togo’s consolation was a late penalty by Henritse Eninful.
After a start that didn’t provide many scoring chances, Kenya opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when the on-form Hassan finished off with a cheeky dink over the keeper after being put through by Clifton Miheso.
Stars almost went to the break 2-0 up but the Togolese keeper Yao Djehani pulled off a great double save to ensure his side remained in contention. He first leaped to his left to pluck out a well taken shot from Abuya, before skipper of the day Masud Juma picked the spills and fed Miheso whose shot was also saved for a corner.
In the second half, Kenya had another chance to extend their lead when Duke Abuya’s shot skied inches over the target while substitute Cliff Nyakeya had a curling effort collected by the keeper.
Stars however sealed the win in the 65th minute when Masud scored from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the box by Kangnivi Ama
Togo piled the pressure in the final 25 minutes of the game and keeper Saruni came to Kenya’s rescue in the 71st minute, making a good point blank save to deny Ashraf Agoro after he was left unmarked on the left.
DR Congo 1-0 Gambia , Angola 2-0 Gabon
In Kinshasa, DR Congo who failed to qualify also picked a win to boost their morale after beating first time qualifiers Gambia by a solitary goal scored by Kazadi Kasengu from the penalty spot.
After several missed chances, DR Congo finally broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime via Kasengu’s penalty. The Congolese were awarded a spot kick after Ben Malango was pushed down inside the box by Omar Colley.
Before the goal, the home side had constantly knocked on the Gambian door with Kasengu missing several scoring chances. He had a cross come his way in the 26th minute but couldn’t tap at goal while he had another effort with a header unmarked at the back post go over.
Earlier on, keeper Sheik Sibi had made a good save to deny Jordan Botaka’s effort with a well angled header off a corner.
Elsewhere in Luanda, already qualified Gabon lost the opportunity to finish top ahead of the Gambians after losing 2-0 to hosts Angola. Manuel ‘Show’ Cafumana scored the opening goal in the 63rd minute before Loide Augusto scored the second six minutes later.