Group E was perhaps the most intriguing of today’s matchups in Africa World Cup qualifying. It was already a busy day on the continent, what with Ethiopia having to stage a comeback to eliminate South Africa’s chances, and Nigeria easily dispensing with ten-man Malawi.
Going into Saturday’s matches, the teams were snuggled nice and close. Sure, Niger was already out of the running. And Gabon would’ve had to pull off a pretty spectacular win over Burkina Faso to overtake Congo at the top. But the point was that it could happen. That’s what these runs to the World Cup are about, right? Hope.
And for once, hope did not disappoint. Burkina Faso, sitting one point back from Congo, needed a victory combined with Niger drawing or beating Congo. Niger, with nothing to play for, still gave it their all. The Ménas took the lead after just 34 minutes and, although Niger came back twice to even the scoreline, managed to hang on for the 2-2 draw.
With that result, Burkina Faso still needed a win — and Gabon didn’t make it very easy on them. But the Stallions scored shortly after the second half started, via a goal from Prejuce Nakoulma. Turned out that one goal was all they needed to record the 1-0 win, put 12 points on the board next to Congo’s 11, and progress through to the next round.
Keep tuning in to CAF qualifying. Later tonight, Tunisia and Cape Verde, separated by two points, meet to determine the winner of Group B. Then Senegal and Uganda face off to see who goes through from Group J.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.