CAIRO — There were some pivotal matches in 2014 Fifa World Cup football qualifiers on Sunday that have done much to shape the various pools.
Ex-Kaizer Chiefs star Knowledge Musona and current favourite Lincoln Zvasiya were on target for Zimbabwe, but they slipped to a 4-2 home loss to Egypt that ends any hopes they had of reaching Brazil.
A hat-trick from Pharaohs midfielder Mohamed Salah and another goal from the evergreen Mohammad Aboutreika secured the win for Egypt.
It should be plain sailing for Bob Bradley’s side now; they lead their pool by five points from Guinea with just two games to play.
Sadio Diallo netted a hat-trick as Guinea did their best to make up ground with a 6-1 thrashing of Mozambique in Conakry.
They face Zimbabwe at home next weekend and then have a trip to Cairo for their final qualifier.
Cameroon’s Lions have not been so indomitable of late and they slipped to a surprise 2-0 loss at Togo to blow Group I wide open.
Komlan Amewou and Lalawele Atakora scored for Togo, who were without Emmanuel Adebayor, but did have Free State Stars’ midfielder Dove Wome in the their starting line-up, while club mate Sadat Ouro-Akoriko came off the bench.
The result means that just two points separate top side Libya and bottom-placed Togo with two rounds left to play and any of the four sides could still advance to the next round.
Togo must now travel to Libya on Friday, while Cameroon are in DR Congo on Sunday.
Algeria made their pool a two-horse race with a 3-1 victory in Benin thanks to a brace from Islam Slimani. It likely pouts their opponents out of the running after they slipped five points behind with two games left to play.
Mali are two points back in second, but handed the Algerians the advantage after being held 1-1 at home by bottom side Rwanda.
Meddy Kagere had given the visitors a first half lead, but a goal 13 minutes from time via Mahamadou Ndiaye snatched a point for the stunned Maliens. Mali will travel to Algeria in their final qualifier in September.
Burkina Faso kept their slim hopes of qualification alive with a 1-0 win in Niger, a rare Niamey loss for the hosts.
Chippa United goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly, ex-Platinum Stars defender Mohamed Chikoto and Thanda Royal Zulu midfielder Talatou Boubacar all played for the Nigeriens, but a goal nine minutes from time by Jonathan Pitroipa gave the Burkinabe the win.
They now trail pool leaders Congo by four points with two rounds to play and must travel to Pointe-Noire on Saturday.