Comoros, Ghana win


JOHANNESBURG. — Comoros ended a 3 084-day wait for a first competitive international football victory when they beat visiting Botswana 1-0 yesterday in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Meanwhile, flamboyant former Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier made a losing debut as a national team coach when Mozambique fell 3-1 in Ghana.

Liberia won 1-0 in Djibouti and Madagascar were held 1-1 at home by the Central African Republic in other matchday 3 games.

Ben Mohamed was the toast of the Comoros, a group of islands off the south-east coast of the continent, who are ranked 26 places below Botswana in Africa.

His goal on 56 minutes ended a 20-match winless run in World Cup and Cup of Nations qualifiers since 2007, when they were thrashed 6-2 by Madagascar in their first competitive international.

Soon after the Greece-based Comoran scored, torrential rain temporarily halted the Group D game at the 5 000-seat Stade Said Mohamed Cheikh.

Nicknamed Les Coelacanthes after a pre-historic fish, Comoros share second place with Burkina Faso and Botswana on three points, three behind pacesetters Uganda. It took just five minutes at the Accra Sports Stadium for Mozambique-born former Portugal fullback Xavier to sense that he was unlikely to make a winning debut.

A superb Abdul-Majeed Waris pass sent Frank Acheampong clear and he beat the goalkeeper at his near post to put the 2015 Cup of Nations runners-up ahead.

Four-time African champions Ghana wrapped up the points through contrasting goals from captain John Boye and Jordan Ayew within three second-half minutes.

An attempted clearance struck Boye and found the net before Christian Atsu set up Ayew to score with a delicate lob.

Substitute Apson Manjate pulled one goal back by nodding a cross from captain Elias Pelembe past Razak Braimah.

Remembered for his goatee and shock of dyed blond hair when playing, clean-shaven Xavier cut an elegant figure on the touchline in a waistcoat, red and navy tie, white shirt and black slacks.

Ghana have nine points in Group H, Rwanda and Mauritius three each and Mozambique none.

South Africa-based winger Anthony Laffor scored just past the hour at Stade Du Ville in Djibouti City for Liberia, who joined Togo at the top of Group A with six points each.

Madagascar remained winless and bottom of Group B after the Central African Republic snatched a late equaliser at Stade Mahamasina in Antananarivo.

Carolus Andriamahitsinoro converted a 77th-minute penalty for the hosts and the visitors had Alexandre Youga red-carded before Moussa Limane levelled five minutes from time. — AFP.

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