Former African Cup of Nations winners Zambia suffered an early setback in the 2023 qualifiers, with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Comoros winning their opening matches.
Goals from Serge Aurier, Christian Kwame and Ibrahim Sangar led Zambia to lose 3-1 away to Ivory Coast in Group H.
Two-time African champions Côte d’Ivoire are participating in the qualifiers although they have already secured their place in next year’s tournament as hosts.
As a result, only the other side of their group will advance.
Comoros, one of the surprise groups in the 2021 Nations Cup finals in Cameroon earlier this year, joined the Elephants with three points at the top of Group H after beating Lesotho 2-0.
These results imply that Zambia, 2012 winners, He will need a positive result when Comoros host Chipolopolo on Tuesday in Lusaka.
Meanwhile, Hassan Pande and Dango Ouattara’s second-half efforts led to Burkina Faso’s 2-0 win over Cape Verde in the second set, while Eswatini snatched a 2-2 away draw against Togo in the other group game.
Coelacanths steal the march in Zambia
Comoros, Ivory Coast and Zambia have started the campaign with new coaches, and the pressure will only increase Zambia coach Alyosa Asanovic After an inaugural defeat at the hands of West Africa.
Ivory Coast striker Max Gradel hit the crossbar in the first half at Yamoussoukro, and the Sevaspor player created the hosts’ first two goals after the first half.
Ola Aurier converted a cross into the back corner in the 67th minute and nine minutes later, Kwame looked at a corner kick from visiting goalkeeper Toster Nsabata.
Sangare added a third for By Jean-Louis Gasset In the 89th minute, from outside the six-yard penalty area, Leicester City striker Patson Dhaka scored a consolation goal in stoppage time.
Zambia has missed out on the past three Nations Cup finals and has to work on it Comoros He started with three points in Group H earlier on Friday.
The Indian Ocean Islanders are eyeing a back-to-back appearance in the finals, and upcoming coach Younes Zardouk scored a routine 2-0 win at home. Lesotho.
Amir Abdo led the Coelacanths to the last 16 on their first appearance in the tournament in January, but he was It remains to take charge of Mauritania in March.
Guncamp midfielder Youssef Machangama opened the scoring with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area before the hour mark in Moroni, and Benjloud Youssef added the second goal with a fierce effort in the 81st minute.
Horses act as a surprise for Eswatini
Burkina Faso He was another team with a new coach after his split from Camu Malo despite reaching the semi-finals in Cameroon.
French Hubert Veloyd set in April and stallions green head In a match held in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh because Burkina Faso does not have a stadium suitable for international football.
In the other second set match, Euloge Placca Fessou scored an amazing free kick from 30 yards to give Togo lead against Eswatini In Lome after 20 minutes.
Sapelo Ndzenisa nodded from six yards to equalize for Eswatini with six minutes remaining, but Kudjo Lapa headed hard in Floyd Aite’s corner to restore Togo’s lead after just three minutes.
However, the Eswatini, who came through the preliminary qualifying round, The final say was when Siboniso Nguyenya made it 2-2 in the fifth minute of extra time.
Malcolm Barcola, the Sparrowhawks’ guard, was unable to ward off Ngwenya’s mighty force that crept in from under the crossbar, leaving the home crowd at the Stade de Kegue in stunned silence.
Cape Verde will be looking to get off the mark when the Blue Sharks face Togo on Tuesday, while Burkina Faso faces Eswatini in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, defending champions Senegal kick off their qualifying campaign on Saturday, when they host the Teranga Lions of Benin in Diameniadio in Group F (19:00 GMT).
Group B and H upcoming matches:
Tuesday 7 June
- – Eswatini – Burkina Faso (Johannesburg, 1300) – Group B
- Zambia vs Comoros (Lusaka, 1300) – Group H
- Cape Verde – Togo (Marrakesh, 1600) – Group B
Thursday 9th June
- Lesotho – Ivory Coast (Johannesburg, 1900) – Group H
All departure times are GMT.