Nigeria leave it till late

CAIRO - Algeria and Tunisia moved a step closer to reaching the World Cup by winning qualifiers on Sunday, while Nigeria's slender chances of advancing to next year's tournament in South Africa were kept alive by a last-minute goal.

CAIRO - Algeria and Tunisia moved a step closer to reaching the World Cup by winning qualifiers on Sunday, while Nigeria's slender chances of advancing to next year's tournament in South Africa were kept alive by a last-minute goal.

While Algeria beat Rwanda 3-1 and Tunisia won 1-0 against Kenya, Nigeria were jeered by their own fans as their patience reached breaking point before Victor Nsofor Obinna scored the winner against Mozambique in Abuja.

Goals from Abdelkader Gezzal, Nadir Belhadj and Karim Ziani in Blida ensured Algeria only need to avoid losing by three goals in Egypt on November 14 to become one of the six African teams at the event.

Ghana, Ivory Coast and hosts South Africa are through. The other spots will be decided in the final qualifying round on November 14.

The Algerians top Group C with 13 points, three more than Egypt, and have a superior goal difference.

Rwanda took a 20th-minute lead through Mafisango Mutesa's deflected shot. Gezzal headed the equaliser in the 22nd, Belhadj made it 2-1 just before half time, and Ziani added an injury-time penalty.

Algeria should have had another goal when Antar Yahia's shot crossed the line before the ball was cleared.

Tunisia scored in the sixth minute in Rades through Issam Jomaa, and were moments away from qualification until Obinna's goal.

The Carthage Eagles lead Group B with 11 points, two more than Nigeria's Super Eagles. Both are unbeaten. The group winners will be decided when Tunisia visit Mozambique and Kenya host Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Ghana conceded their first goal in five qualifying games in Group D, losing 1-0 to Benin as substitute Mohamed Aoudou scored in injury time.

"We're satisfied to have won at home, and especially scoring against Ghana, which didn't need the win," Benin coach Michel Dussuyer said. "I am proud of my boys."

In Group D's other match, Frederic Kanoute scored in the 89th minute on Sunday for Mali to beat 10-man Sudan, who had Saeed Mustapha Balla sent off in the 41st minute. Mali are second with eight points in the group, four behind Ghana. Benin have seven points and Sudan one. In Group E, Burkina Faso booked a place in next year's Africa Cup of Nations in Angola with a 2-1 win over Guinea. - Sapa-AP

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