Ighalo hat-trick puts Nigeria one step closer to Nations Cup berth


Odion Ighalo has scored a hat-trick as Nigeria took a big step towards the 2019 African Nations Cup finals with a thumping 4-0 home win over Libya as the continent's big guns flexed their muscles with significant victories.

Igalho netted an early penalty to settle the nerves before scoring two more in the second half to go with a strike from Samuel Kalu against a Libyan side whose coach, Adel Amrouche, resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday (AEST).

Nigeria leapfrog the North Africans into second place in Group E after three games, a point behind leaders South Africa, who recorded their biggest ever international victory with a 6-0 hammering of Seychelles in Johannesburg.

In-form Strasbourg striker Lebo Mothiba was among the scorers with his third goal in three games for Bafana Bafana, who might well have hit double figures with some more accurate finishing against the woefully out-gunned minnows.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the finals in Cameroon next June and July, and Nigeria and South Africa can all but seal those two Group E places with away wins against the same opponents on Wednesday.

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye was among the goals as Senegal cruised to a 3-0 home win over Sudan in Group A, with Pape Abou Cisse and M'Baye Niang also on the scoresheet.

Madagascar joined Senegal on seven points at the top of the pool after a 1-0 win in Equatorial  Guinea thanks to a goal from Faneva Andriatsima.

FIFA World Cup participants Morocco needed a goal from Faycal Fajr seven minutes into stoppage time as they edged Comoros  Islands 1-0 in Group B.

Zimbabwe took charge of Group G with a surprise 2-1 win in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Defender Ronald Pfumbidzai opened the scoring for the visitors, who added a second via Knowledge Musona, though he was sent off with 15 minutes to play.

Yannick Bolasie scored what proved a late consolation for the Congolese.

Tunisia laboured to a 1-0 win at home to Niger in Group J after a first-half strike from Yassine Meriah and finished the game with 10 men when Ghailene Chaalali was red carded five minutes from the end.

There were also wins on Sunday for Uganda, Namibia and Burkina Faso.

Source AAP