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World Cup 2026 qualifying: Egypt and Ghana win but Algeria stunned

Written by on June 6, 2024

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.

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