Egypt & Ghana win but Algeria stunned in qualifying

Egypt forward Trezeguet smiles and wheels away with his arms wide in celebration after scoring a goal
Egypt forward Trezeguet is the top scorer in African qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, with five goals in three games [EPA]

Trezeguet scored twice as Egypt continued their 100% start in qualifying for the 2026 Fifa World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso, but Algeria were stunned at home by Guinea.

Meanwhile, Jordan Ayew netted an injury-time winner for Ghana, who came from behind to clinch a crucial 2-1 victory in Mali.

Elsewhere Senegal, with Sadio Mane absent through injury, were held to a 1-1 draw by DR Congo in Diamniadio in what was Aliou Cisse’s 100th game in charge of the Teranga Lions.

There were also wins for Benin, Libya, Malawi and Sudan, while former Fulham assistant coach Luis Boa Morte began his spell in charge of Guinea-Bissau with a goalless draw at home against Ethiopia.

All the countries in action on Thursday face another game before the middle of next week, when African World Cup qualifying pauses until March next year.

The continent has a guaranteed nine places at the 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico and the United States, with all group winners booking a spot at the tournament.

Egypt took control of their game against Burkina Faso as former Aston Villa forward Trezeguet struck twice in the opening seven minutes in Cairo, first with a powerful header from Mohamed Salah's cross and then with a low left-footed strike across goal.

The Pharaohs saw out victory despite Lassina Traore pulling one back from close range after the break, and Hossam Hassan's men are now four points clear at the top of Group A after Guinea-Bissau drew.

Former Liverpool forward Mane has been ruled out of both of Senegal's games this month with a leg injury, but Ismaila Sarr gave the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations winners the lead against DR Congo in first-half injury time when he bundled in after his initial effort hit a post.

Nicolas Jackson could have sealed the win late on, but the Chelsea striker blasted against the left-hand upright after being played through on goal, and substitute Fiston Mayele smashed into the top right-hand corner with five minutes remaining to equalise for the Leopards.

Senegal slipped off the top of Group B with the result as Sudan now lead by two points after beating Mauritania 2-0 in Nouakchott.

Seif Teiri bravely headed in after 15 minutes and Aly Abeid then turned an attempted through-ball past his own goalkeeper just before the half-hour mark.

Mahrez missing but Ayew hands Black Stars win

Riyad Mahrez shrugs while in action for Algeria
Riyad Mahrez missed Algeria's friendly games in March following their group-stage exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations [Getty Images]

There was defeat for Vladimir Petkovic in his first competitive game in charge of Algeria after the former Switzerland coach left former captain Riyad Mahrez out of his squad.

Petkovic said the ex-Manchester City forward, who now plays in Saudi Arabia, had asked for a break from national team duty and would get back in touch when he was ready for a recall. Mahrez, though, posted on social media that he was expecting Petkovic or Algeria's football federation to call him instead.

The North Africans fell behind against Guinea in the 50th minute when Morlaye Sylla pounced in the box, but the Fennecs were quickly level as Said Benrahma's chipped effort hit the bar and rebounded in off Syli Nationale defender Yasser Balde.

However, a fine volley from Aguibou Camara saw the West Africans regain the lead and they sealed a 2-1 victory after Baghdad Bounedjah and Mohamed Amoura failed to convert late chances, with both sides now on six points at the top of Group G.

There was late drama in Bamako where Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew fired in a 94th-minute winner to hand Ghana victory over Mali in Otto Addo's first competitive game back as Black Stars coach.

The hosts had taken the lead on the stroke of half time through a freak goal from Kamory Doumbia, as his shot rebounded off a defender and then back in off the Eagles forward.

However, Ernest Nuamah's strong back-post header dragged Ghana back into the contest just before the hour mark and Ayew's late strike sparked wild celebrations as they leapfrogged Mali and moved level with Group I leaders Comoros.

Libya head to top of group

Elsewhere Benin beat Rwanda 1-0 to move behind the Group C leaders on goal difference.

Dokou Dodo's goal came eight minutes before the break in a game played in neutral Ivory Coast as the Squirrels do not have a venue fit to host internationals.

Earlier in the day, goals from captain Faisal Al Badri and Ahmed Ekrawa were enough to give Libya a 2-1 win over Mauritius in Benghazi despite the Mediterranean Knights finishing with 10 men after a late red card for Ali Youssef.

Libya are now three points clear at the top of Group D before closest challengers Cameroon and Cape Verde face each other on Saturday.

Malawi moved up to third in Group H after a 3-1 home win over Sao Tome and Principe in Lilongwe.

The Flames have six points from three matches and are three points behind group leaders Tunisia, who beat Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday.

Qualifiers continue on Friday, with Nigeria hosting South Africa in a crunch clash in Group C while reigning continental champions Ivory Coast and 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco are among the sides in action.

Thursday's African World Cup qualifying results

Egypt 2-1 Burkina Faso (Group A)

Guinea-Bissau 0-0 Ethiopia (Group A)

Senegal 1-1 DR Congo (Group B)

Mauritania 0-2 Sudan (Group B)

Benin 1-0 Rwanda (Group C)

Libya 2-1 Mauritius (Group D)

Algeria 1-2 Guinea (Group G)

Malawi 3-1 Sao Tome e Príncipe (Group H)

Mali 1-2 Ghana (Group I)