The second of Africa’s World Cup qualifying rounds won’t be finished until tomorrow, when Cameroon and Libya play to determine who moves on from Group I. There’s also a late match on Saturday night, with Senegal and Uganda facing off to see who moves on from Group J.
But even before the match between Nigeria and Malawi kicked off, we already knew five of the ten countries that would advance to the third, and final, round of CAF qualifying. Earlier on Saturday, Central African Republic very nearly pulled off an upset that would’ve put South Africa through, but Ethiopia came back to win and advance. On Friday, Ghana beat Zambia to take top in Group D. Egypt, Algeria, and the Ivory Coast have also clinched a place in the final playoff round.
Now we add Nigeria, who beat Malawi 2-0 to advance. The Flames, who’d made it through to second in the second round of qualification by virtue of four draws and one win, had a rather spectacular explosion before their last spark flickered out. Just before the break, Emmanuel Emenike made it 1-0 to Nigeria. But rather than calming down during the interval, Malawi got a bit desperate. In the 52nd minute, they conceded a penalty, which Victor Moses converted beautifully. Moments later, Limbikani Mzava was shown a straight red. That was it for Malawi, and Nigeria cruised on through to victory.