Sunday, 04 June 2023 11:11 GMT

Algeria Nigeria qualify for Rio Olympics

(MENAFN- The Peninsula)

Johannesburg:Algeria and Nigeria secured places Wednesday at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games football tournament leaving South Africa and Senegal to fight for the third and final qualifying place this weekend.

An opportunist early Oussama Darfalou goal set up Algeria for a convincing 2-0 victory over South Africa and a first appearance at the Games since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Oghenekaro Etebo calmly converted a second-half penalty kick to give Nigeria the 1996 gold medalists and 2008 silver medalists a 1-0 win over Senegal in the first half of a Dakar double-header.

Senegal who beat South Africa in the opening match of the eight-nation African qualifying competition must do so again Saturday in the third-place play-off to achieve back-to-back Olympics appearances.

South Africa qualified for the 2000 Games.

Senegal started as slight favourites against Nigeria because of more impressive group form and greater familiarity with the 30 degree-plus (85 fahrenheit) heat

But the Teranga Cubs spurned a great chance to break the deadlock in first-half stoppage-time when a timidly struck Ibrahima Sory Keita penalty was blocked by Emmanuel Daniel.

The Dream Team VI goalkeeper who conceded two goals twice in the three-matchday mini-league phase made several other excellent saves to thwart the more penetrative Senegalese.

Senegal paid for their wastefulness when Ousseynou Thioune handled and Etebo stroked the ball into the left corner on 77 minutes while goalkeeper and captain Pape Seydou Ndiaye dived in the opposite direction.

The last thing skilful but erratic South Africa could afford was to concede an early goal against well-organised Algeria who threatened regularly with their slick counter-attacking.

But the losers' defence were asleep on nine minutes as Darfalou sped unopposed on to a hopeful long pass from captain Riyad Keniche and lobbed the ball over out-of-position goalkeeper Jody February.

Mohamed Benkhemassa almost doubled the lead soon after with February doing well to parry a stinging shot from a tight angle.

When South Africa got a rare chance to level at Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor Gift Motupa fluffed it through poor ball control.

Algeria knew a second goal would kill off the game and it arrived five minutes after half-time when Benkhemassa rifled a weak clearance into the corner.

Both Saturday matches will be 'repeats' as Algeria and Nigeria drew 0-0 in Group B and Senegal beat South Africa 3-1 in Group A.

Olympic qualifiers are restricted to footballers born on or after January 1 1993 with each team allowed three over-age stars at the finals.


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