Victory is lost
Egypt should have beaten Botswana in qualifiers for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations but could only draw, reports Abeer Anwar
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Tunisian striker Zitouni (r) vies with Sudanese defender Bashir (l) in their group 4 African qualifier where Tunisia won 1-0
Defending champions Egypt drew 0-0 away to Botswana as the second round of 2008 African Nations Cup qualifiers kicked off.
The result lifted the Pharaohs above Group 2 surprise package Mauritania into first place on four points, one more than the Mauritanians. Burundi also have three points after they beat Mauritania 3-1. Botswana lies at the bottom of the group with just one point.
Egypt had most of the territorial advantage and numerous chances to put the game away but could not find the net. A header by Mido and a bullet by Ahmed Hassan rattled the woodwork.
After the match, recently appointed Botswana coach Colwyn Roe from England celebrated, so close was his team to losing.
Cameroon continued their impressive performance under new Dutch coach Arie Haan with a 3-0 home triumph over Equatorial Guinea in a top-of-the-table Group 5 encounter.
Malawi overcame Zimbabwe 1-0 in Group 12 thanks to a 33rd-minute goal from Moses Chavula at Chichiri Stadium in Blantyre.
Morocco, whose only Nations Cup title was won in Ethiopia 30 years ago, beat Malawi in the first round and are now favoured to top the three- team pool and claim a place at the 2008 finals in Ghana.
Seychelles beat Mauritius 2-1 to collect their first points in Group 4, which includes Tunisia and Sudan. Seychelles have traditionally struggled against the Mauritians, who exceeded expectations at home in the first round last month by holding 2004 champions Tunisia to a goalless draw.
Arouna Kone scored the last three goals to help Ivory Coast beat Gabon 5-0 in Group One.
Defender Kolo Toure scored the first goal for the Elephants. The second came from a volley after a cross from Aruna Dindane. Ivory Coast, which qualified for this year's World Cup, has three points in Group 1, which also includes Madagascar.
Aaron Mokoena scored his first international goal to give South Africa a precious 1-0 win over Zambia.
Mokoena was reinstated as skipper for the Group 11 clash after a traumatic year in which he was stripped of the captaincy and temporarily retired from international football.
Victory lifted 1996 Nations Cup winners South Africa to four points and leadership of a group that includes Congo and Chad .
Nigeria edged lowly Lesotho 1-0 in Maseru to maintain a perfect record in Group Three.
Meanwhile, Niger were held 0-0 by Uganda in the other group encounter.
Former champions Nigeria have six points, Uganda four, Niger one and Lesotho none with the next series of fixtures scheduled for March.
Benin revived their hopes of reaching the 2008 Nations Cup with a 2-0 victory over Sierra Leone. The victory is a boost for Benin, who suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Togo in the opening match of the group last month.
Flavio Amaro scored two goals and Mateus added another to help Angola beat Kenya 3-1 in Group Six qualifiers while Boniface Abani got one back for the visitors in the 81st.
Burundi beat Mauritania 3-1 in Group Two.
Narcisse Yameogo scored from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute to give Burkina Faso a 1- 0 win over Senegal.
Senegal, who have three points from two games, finished the match with 10 men after Papa Diakate was sent off.
Karim Ziani's second-half penalty earned Algeria a first win since March 2005 after beating Gambia in Group Eight 1-0.
Algeria's last win in a competitive match was when they beat Rwanda 1-0 in the Nations Cup qualifiers in Oran last year.
Algeria now occupy the top spot with four points following Cape Verde's 1-0 win over Guinea in the other group match.
The 12 group winners and the best three runners-up from the four-team pools advance to the finals of the biennial tournament with hosts Ghana, who qualify automatically.
Second round results:
Ivory Coast 5-0 Gabon
Botswana 0-0 Egypt
Burundi 3-1 Mauritania
Lesotho 0-1 Nigeria
Niger 0-0 Uganda
Seychelles 2-1 Mauritius
Tunisia 1-0 Sudan
Cameroon 3-0 Equatorial Guinea
Liberia 3-2 Rwanda
Angola 3-1 Kenya
Eritrea 0-0 Swaziland
Burkina Faso 1-0 Senegal
Mozambique 0-0 Tanzania
Algeria 1-0 Gambia
Cape Verde 1-0 Guinea
Mali 1-0 Togo
Benin 2-0 Sierra Leone
Libya 1-1 DR Congo
Namibia 1-0 Ethiopia
Congo 3-0 Chad
Zambia 0-1 South Africa
Malawi 1-0 Zimbabwe