World Cup-bound Ghana and Tunisia held to draws as Egypt win

World Cup-bound Ghana and Tunisia were both held to draws in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Sunday while Egypt scored a late winner to snatch victory in their opening game of the campaign.

Ghana and Tunisia both played a second group qualifier in quick succession as they will be heading to Japan to continue their World Cup preparations in a four-nations tournament with the host country and Chile, which starts at the weekend.

Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Mohammed Kudus scored for a second successive game to put Ghana into an early lead away against the Central African Republic but the match ended in 1-1 draw after Karl Namnganda equalised five minutes before half-time.

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The Group E match was played in Luanda, Angola, because the Central African Republic's stadiums have been declared not up to standard for international matches by the Confederation of African Football.

Also in the same group on Sunday, Gelson Dala scored for Angola as they drew 1-1 in Madagascar to join Ghana at the top of the standings with four points.

Ghana had beaten Madagascar 3-0 at home in their opening qualifier on Wednesday while Tunisia won 4-0 at home on Thursday in Group J against Equatorial Guinea.

But on Sunday the Tunisians were held goalless away in Botswana despite hitting the woodwork twice.

Mohamed Salah and his Egyptian teammates, playing a first game under new coach Ehab Galal, looked sluggish against Guinea in Cairo in Group D but snatched an 87th minute winner when Mostafa Mohamed's shot took a wicked deflection to nestle into the bottom of the net.

Salah was honoured for his cup success with Liverpool before the start of the game with a guard of honour from the other players and an award from the Egyptian Football Association.

Also in Group D, striker Frank Mhango converted two first-half penalties to see Malawi to a 2-1 home win over Ethiopia in Lilongwe. Ethiopia's second half reply was also a spot kick, converted by Abubeker Nassir.

Qualifying continues until June 13 by which time the first two rounds will be completed. There will be two more rounds of group matches in September and March.

The top two in each group, except from Group H where hosts Ivory Coast are competing, qualify for the finals next June. In Group H, only one other country besides the Ivorians will qualify.