Nigeria off to winning start in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying

Stephen Keshi's Nigeria started with a 2-0 victory over Chad (AAP) Source: DPA

Three-time champion Nigeria made a confident start to Africa Cup of Nations qualifying with a 2-0 victory over Chad, while fellow west African nations Mali and Senegal also enjoyed opening-game wins.

After a goalless first half in Kaduna, Stephen Keshi's side finally broke the deadlock just after the hour as Gbolahan Salami fired into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

Nigeria saw out the victory with 10 men after Ogenyi Onazi was sent off for his involvement in a skirmish after the awarding of a penalty for the host, a spot-kick that Odion Ighalo duly rolled home to secure all three points in Group G.

Mali and Senegal also enjoyed opening-game victories as the campaign to reach the 2017 finals in Gabon got underway.

First-half strikes from Modibo Maiga and Salif Coulibaly secured a 2-0 win for Mali over 10-man South Sudan, while Senegal was grateful to Premier League duo Mame Biram Diouf and Sadio Mane as it beat Burundi 3-1.

Northern African powerhouse Algeria cruised to a 4-0 win over Seychelles, but South Africa was held to a goalless draw by Gambia in Durban after the match was delayed for four hours due to the match officials failing to arrive in the country in time for kick-off.

Goals were not a problem for Cape Verde Islands as it romped to a 7-1 victory over Sao Tome and Principe, Djaniny one of six goalscorers for the host in Praia.

In Group L, Zimbabwe needed a Khama Billiat strike seven minutes from time to earn itself a 2-1 win against Malawi, the striker netting after Malawi had cancelled out Cuthbert Malajila's opener.

Two goals in the space of nine second-half minutes from Geoffrey Massa and Brian Umony helped Uganda beat Botswana 2-0, while the other game in Group D saw Burkina Faso record a comfortable 2-0 win over Comoros - Aristide Bance and Jonathan Pitroipa with the goals.

Meanwhile, Angola eased to a 4-0 win over Central African Republic, and Guinea-Bissau earned a 0-0 draw with 2012 winner Zambia.

Source Omnisport