Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani scored twice as African champions Algeria ran riot at home again in World Cup qualifying, beating Niger 6-1 in Blida.
The rout followed Algeria’s 8-0 home triumph over Djibouti last month, where Slimani scored four goals and ensured they remained ahead of Burkina Faso in their qualifying group, albeit on goal difference.
There were also important victories for Cameroon, Egypt and the Ivory Coast as the group phase of the continental qualifiers continued.
Mahrez’s 27th-minute goal had Algeria leading 1-0 at half-time but the floodgates opened after the break as the Manchester City attacker added a penalty, Slimani grabbed two goals in 10 minutes, Sofiane Feghouli contributed one and Niger added an own goal.
Algeria now have seven points from three Group A games, matched by the Burkinabe, who beat Djibouti 4-0 with Abdoul Tapsoba grabbing two in their match in Marrakech.
Mohamed Salah, who was prevented from playing for Egypt in their previous home World Cup qualifier due to Britain’s COVID-19 quarantine rules, returned to the team under new coach Carlos Queiroz as they took over at the top of Group F from Libya.
Debutant Omar Marmoush scored the only goal in the 1-0 win over Libya in Alexandria as Egypt moved to seven points, one ahead of their neighbours.
Angola beat Gabon 3-1 at home in the other Group F game.
Bayern Munich striker Eric Choupo Moting scored twice as Cameroon beat Mozambique 3-1 in Douala but remain one point behind the Ivory Coast in Group D.
The Ivorians beat Malawi 3-0 in Johannesburg with Max-Alain Gradel scoring in the first half and Ibrahim Sangare and Jeremie Boga adding two more near the end of the contest.
Malawi were one of the 12 countries forced to move their home matches to neutral venues because their stadia were not approved for use in the World Cup qualifiers because of poor facilities.
The African qualifiers continue on Saturday with six more matches around the continent.
The 40 countries involved in the group phase of the qualifiers are divided into 10 groups with the winner advancing to the playoffs with five African spots reserved for Qatar 2022.
The Fort News