Ethiopia, Zambia pick up big World Cup winsBy BBC | Monday, June 11 2012 at 15:31
Ethiopia are proudly sitting on top of qualifying Group A after Saladin Said's brace earned them a 2-0 home win over the Central African Republic on Sunday.
African champions Zambia put a torrid week of off-field tension behind them to beat Ghana 1-0 in a 2014 World Cup Group D qualifier on Saturday.
In Marrakech, Morocco substitute Hamza Abdourazzouk scored a dramatic equaliser one minute from time to earn a 2-2 draw with top-ranked Cote d'Ivoire in Group C.
Egypt-based striker Said, whose goal gave the Black Lions a shock draw in South Africa last weekend, put the home team ahead on 38 minutes in Addis Ababa and he scored again two minutes from time to clinch maximum points.
Ranked 130 in the world by Fifa this month, Ethiopia are the bottom seeds in Group A behind three-time World Cup qualifiers South Africa, Botswana and the Central African Republic.
But the table makes a mockery of the rankings with Ethiopia on four points, Central African Republic three, South Africa two and Botswana one after two rounds of the mini-league second qualifying phase.
Famous for their athletics prowess, Ethiopia have never come remotely close to reaching the World Cup, but that could be about to change, especially with South Africa battling to score goals or win matches.
South Africa's first game after the firing of coach Pitso Mosimane began promisingly when defender Morgan Gould headed them into the lead in the 14th minute against Botswana.
But Ofentse Nato netted the equaliser seven minutes before half-time.
The 2010 World Cup hosts, who have begun qualifying with two draws, have now gone eight matches without a win.
Tunisia struggled to get past Cape Verde in Praia after Odair Fortes had brought the home side level following Saber Khalifa's early opener.
Isaam Jemaa scored a minute into the second half to give the Tunisians a second straight win and control of the group.
In Malabo, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea shared the spoils with a 2-2 draw.
In Group C Tanzania moved into second place behind Cote d'Ivoire with a 2-1 over The Gambia in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
In Group D, Zambia beat Ghana with a goal from captain Christopher Katongo in the 15th for a morale-boosting win in Ndola.
Katongo's goal marked a successful opening of the new 40,000-capacity Chinese-built stadium on Zambia's copperbelt and will go a long way to easing tensions.
Ghana had gone into the game with their confidence sky-high after beating Lesotho 7-0 in their opening qualifier.
Congo Brazzaville made full use of home advantage to record a 1-0 victory over Niger in Point Noire on Saturday in Group E.
Francis Malonga's goal in the closing stages of the match was the difference between the two sides and propelled the Red Devils to the top of the group.
Niger's preparations for the game were thrown into disarray in midweek when French coach Rolland Courbis walked away from his post.
Gabon , meanwhile, gave their fans something to smile about when they beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in Libreville.
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