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The second round of qualifying for next year’s global showpiece started across the continent on Wednesday
Libya shocked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Gabon with a 2-1 defeat in their opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Panthers gave up their early lead and conceded a goal in each half of Wednesday’s meeting, which put them off to a bad start.
Andre Biyogo Poko got Gabon off to a flying start with his 11th minute opening at the Martyrs of February Stadium, but Libya reacted shortly afterwards with their equalizer.
In the 28th minute, Ali Salama pulled Libya level, and later in the second half, Sanad Al Warfali grabbed the match-winning goal that closed the maximum points for the hosts in the 89th minute.
Arsenal captain Aubameyang played the entire duration alongside Saint-Etienne’s Denis Bouanga and Nice’s Mario Lemina, but the attacking trio could not find the back of the net to save Gabon.
The result was Libya’s first victory since November 2019, when they defeated Tanzania 2-1, and it ended their unbeaten streak in nine matches across all competitions.
They sit at the top of Group F with three points after a match, while Gabon are third behind Egypt, who defeated Angola 1-0 in Cairo.
In the absence of Liverpool spokesman Mohamed Salah, Ahly star Mohamed Magdi Kafsha steered the Pharaohs to victory with his effort from the penalty spot in the fifth minute.
He stepped forward to convert after Zamalek’s Ahmed El Fotouh was brought down in the penalty area.
Hossam El Badry’s men held on to the lead as they managed without their Premier League stars, however, former West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi was solid in defense.
Next time in Group F, Gabon will play Egypt on Sunday with the aim of toppling their poor start, and Angola will welcome Libya on 7 September.
In Group E, Mali pissed Rwanda to start their expedition for a ticket to Qatar with a 1-0 victory thanks to Adama Traores’ 19th minute.
The Eagles had Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo, RB Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara and Rennes’ Hamari Traore on parade as they moved to the top of the table with three points awaiting the result of the Kenya vs Uganda showdown on Thursday.