- Egypt thrashed Djibouti 6-0 in Cairo
- Salah starred with four goals
- Algeria beat Somalia 3-1 in another fixture
Liverpool FC striker Mo Salah was on fire, scoring four goals as Egypt thrashed Djibouti 6-0 in their opening fixture of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
Mostafa Mohamed and Trezeguet scored the other two as the Pharaohs completely dominated the Eastern Africans to rise top of Group A.
Salah broke the deadlock after 17 minutes with a simple tap in across the face of goal on his weaker right foot from a Mostafa Mohamed cross from the right. Five minutes later he doubled his tally from the penalty spot after Omar Kamal was fouled inside the box.
There was a complete gulf of class between the two sides as Egypt completely dominated, going to the break with a two goal cushion.
The Pharaohs continued with their dominance in the second half and Salah needed just three minutes after the break to make it 3-0, this time, Ahmed El Fotouh’s cross from the left catching his run at the backpost for a simple tap into an empty net.
He then added the fourth in the 69th minute, once again combining with El Fotouh, this time controlling his pass inside the box before finishing on the half volley.
Mostafa then made it 5-0 in the 73rd minute, finishing off unmarked inside the box after the keeper had spilled a shot from Trezeguet. The latter then sealed the win in the 89th minute with a low left footed shot.
Algeria thrash Somalia at home
Elsewhere, Algeria started off their qualification journey on a high after edging out Somalia 3-1 in Algiers. Baghdad Bounedjah and Islam Silimani scored two more, adding on to a second minute own goal, as the two time African champions got a favourable result.
They went into the lead after just two minutes when Ahmed Abdullahi diverted a Fares Chaibi cross from the right into his own net.
Algeria went 2-0 up after 31 minutes when Bounedjah acrobatically finished off inside the box after a cross from the right was deflected well into his path.
In the second half though, Somalia came off hotter off the break and Issa Abatari gave them some hope of a famous win in North Africa when he halved the deficit in the 65th minute when he squeezed the ball between the keeper’s legs on the backpost from a freekick.
The goal seemed to ignite some belief from the East African side, but their hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 80th minute when Slimani scored the third for Algeria with a thumping header from an Adam Ounas corner.
The Fennecs had some more chances, but didn’t convert.
Nigeria frustrated by Lesotho at home
In Uyo, Nigeria’s campaign to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup was off to a not-so-good start after being held to a 1-1 draw by Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium. Ssemi Ajayi had to score an equalizer as the Super Eagles came from a goal down to level.
Lesotho were into the match with so much confidence and they didn’t show any signs of over respecting the Nigerians. They had some chances, first Tshwarelo Bereng striking over after a mistake in the Nigerian backline trying to play out from the back.
Tsefal Sefali also had a chance and forced keeper Francis Uzoho to a good save with a snap shot from the right after 16 minutes.
Nigeria also had some chances, mostly from setpieces but their best was in the 35th minute when Victor Boniface failed to pass the ball into the net from close range after a drag back from the left.
In the second half, Nigeria were stunned at home when Motlomelo Mkwanazi broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with a towering header at the backpost off a corner.
Nigeria battled to come back and they did so after 67 minutes when defender Ssemi Ajayi responded in similar fashion, thumping home a header from a Kelechi Iheanacho corner.
The Nigerians gave in a push to score the winner, but Lesotho managed to see off the game fir a priceless point in Nigeria.