Tuesday 29 March 2022, 22:00

African quintet qualify on night of drama

  • Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia emerged victorious from the third round of African qualifying

  • With Egypt and Algeria bowing out, Mo Salah and Riyad Mahrez will not compete in Qatar

  • The Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will take place on 1 April in Doha

Just six weeks after the culmination of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Africa was again the place to be for suspense and spectacle, as the play-offs for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ came to a riveting conclusion.

The much-anticipated Senegal-Egypt clash, a repeat of February’s Cup of Nations final, saw Les Lions de la Téranga again triumph via a penalty shoot-out, with Sadio Mane once more scoring the decisive spot-kick. In the other high-profile fixture of the night, Cameroon, on the verge of elimination, scored late in extra time through Karl Toko Ekambi to dramatically seal their spot in Qatar.

FIFA.com takes a look back at all the action.

The five qualified nations: Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.

First leg results

Cameroon 0-1 Algeria Congo DR 1-1 Morocco Mali 0-1 Tunisia Egypt 1-0 Senegal Ghana 0-0 Nigeria

Second leg results

Algeria 1-2 Cameroon (Cameroon go through on the away goals rule) Morocco 4-1 Congo DR Tunisia 0-0 Mali Senegal 1-0 Egypt (Senegal go through 3-1 on penalties) Nigeria 1-1 Ghana (Ghana go through via the away goals rule)

Senegal see off Egypt again

Just like in the 2021 Cup of Nations final, a shoot-out was required to separate Senegal and Egypt, and in a curious repeat of the events in Yaounde, Sadio Mane slotted home the winning penalty. Mo Salah, marked out of the game for long periods of the second leg by Saliou Ciss, struck his spot-kick over the bar. Aliou Cisse’s men proceeded to celebrate the West African nation’s third-ever World Cup qualification in style, while the Pharaohs slumped to the turf, despondent at missing out on a second successive appearance on football’s biggest stage.

Ghana back on global stage

After an eight-year absence, Ghana claimed a berth at the World Cup for the fourth time by holding Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Abuja. Captain Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before William Troost-Ekong equalised from the penalty spot 11 minutes later. There was no further change to the scoreboard, and with the first leg having finished 0-0, the Black Stars qualified for Qatar 2022 courtesy of the away goals rule. The Super Eagles will be forced to watch the tournament from the sidelines for the first time since 2006.

Morocco qualify for sixth time

Heavily criticised for their ineffective first-leg performance against Congo DR in Kinshasa (1-1), Morocco bounced back impressively in Casablanca on Tuesday to defeat Les Léopards 4-1 and ensure their presence in Friday’s Final Draw. An Azzedine Ounahi brace and additional goals from Tarik Tissoudali and Achraf Hakimi propelled the Atlas Lions to the World Cup for the sixth time in their history and for the second time in a row. The Congolese fans will need to wait till at least the next qualifying campaign to enjoy a World Cup adventure – something they have not experienced since 1974.

Cameroon leave it late

Karl Toko Ekambi netted in the final seconds of extra time in Cameroon’s thrilling 2-1 win over Algeria in Blida. Having picked up a 1-0 away win in the first leg through Islam Slimani’s well-timed header, the Desert Foxes appeared to have done enough to qualify when Ahmed Touba levelled the aggregate score in the 118th minute of the return match. But Rigobert Song, who only took up the reins of Les Lions Indomptables at the end of February, and his men had other ideas, and their last-gasp efforts qualified their country for an eighth World Cup – a record for an African nation. As for Algeria, this latest setback, following on from their group-stage exit at the recent Cup of Nations, will doubtless pile further pressure on the shoulders of embattled coach Djamel Belmadi.

Tunisia do just enough

Despite drawing 0-0 at home with Mali, Tunisia advanced to the World Cup for the sixth time in their history, and for the second consecutive tournament. The Eagles of Carthage had put in a solid performance in the first leg of the tie, earning a 1-0 victory in Bamako in a match notable for Moussa Sissako’s unfortunate own goal. New Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri, appointed at the end of January, can now look forward to leading his charges at a World Cup. Mali, meanwhile, whose hopes of competing at the tournament proper for the very first time have now been dashed, may well regret not taking a more adventurous approach in Rades.

The stats

8 - Cameroon have now qualified for the World Cup eight times (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014 and 2022), more than any other African country. Below them on the list are Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria (six times each).

4 - Knocked out by Ghana, Nigeria missed out on the opportunity to equal Cameroon’s record (set between 1990 and 2002) of four successive World Cup appearances.