Tanzania’s Taifa Stars failed to take full use of their home advantage and will rue missed chances after losing by a solitary goal to Benin in their third qualification match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
FC Brest striker Steve Mounie scored the lone goal for the Squirrels in the 72nd minute to hand the the victory that moved them top of Group J with seven points.
Tanzania dropped to third in the group with four points while DR Congo skipped over them to second on five points after beating Madagascar’s Barea 2-0 in Lubumbashi.
At the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, the home side were punished for being lethargic. One particular chance they will rue is one that fell on Saimon Msuva in the 22nd minute of the game. Off a long ball, the striker did well to dink the ball over the keeper with a header.
When expected to slot home with a gaping goalmouth, Msuva took a pale shot at goal, allowing Cedric Hountondji time and space to rush back to slide and block the effort when it looked like a definite goal.
Benin’s best chance in the first half was when Jodel Dossou took a long range shot from the edge of the box but it skipped inches over with Aishi Manula scrambling to cover his area.
After going down, Tanzania gave their all in search of an equalizer.
Substitute Abdul Hamisi Suleiman came close twice late on, first his ferocious shot from the edge of the area coming off the bar while his second two minutes later was saved by the keeper.
Skipper Mbwana ‘Diego’ Samatta also came close with a shot from the edge of the box but it flew over the bar.
Meanwhile in Lubumbashi, goals from Chadrac Akolo and skipper Dieumerci Mbokani were enough for DR Congo to beat Madagascar 2-0 At the Stade de Martyrs.
The Congolese who had two points from two draws before this fixture were thirsty for victory and were off to a strong start. Cedric Bakambu forced a great save off he keeper in the 19th minute with a header from a freekick before Mbokani headed just wide from the same position minutes later.
DR Congo however broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when Akolo struck a well taken low shot into the net. He picked up the ball from a poorly defended corner, played a one-two with Mbokani before shooting into the bottom left corner.
In the second half, they were even more dominant and should have been two up after 72 minutes but Chancel Mbemba’s low shot in the box came off the upright.
They however got the second in the 79th minute when Mbokani converted a penalty after Edo Kayembe was clipped inside the box.
Elsewhere in Freetown, Garry Rodrigues scored a brilliant 92nd minute winning goal as Cape Verde came from a goal down to beat hosts Liberia 2-1. The Blue Sharks’ first win of the qualifiers takes them to four points in Group C with four points, two behind leaders Nigeria.
The hosts had gone ahead at the stroke of halftime through Van-Dave Harmon.
However, Cape Verde came off the breather more determined and they levelled just seven minutes after the restart when Jamiro Gregory Monteiro smashed the ball into the roof of the net after a cross from the left was headed down for him.
Cape Verde remained dominant after grabbing the equalizer and literally forced the home side to play in their own half.
They kept fighting and eventually grabbed the winner in the 92nd minute when Rodrigues took a shot from outside the area after some patient build up, the keeper stretching all but in vain.