World Cup qualifying victories for Zambia and Mozambique as Helder Pelembe scores winner in Maputo
Posted: 12 November 2015 Time: 06:17
A powerful strike early in the second half from Bloemfontein Celtic striker Helder Pelembe gave Mozambique a narrow 1-0 won over Gabon in the first leg of their World Cup qualifier in Maputo on Wednesday evening.
Zambia made big strides in their bid to reach the next round with a 1-0 away in Sudan. Winston Kalengo scored a 26th minute goal as Zambia secured a major advantage in the provincial town of Karima, on the banks of the River Nile. The return leg ais in Ndola on Sunday.
In maputo, Gabon struck the woodwork during the first half, but were under pressure for most of the encounter. They will take some satisfaction from the one goal deficit as the tie remains delicately poised with the return set for Saturday.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not feature for Gabon, said by officials to be injured despite a goal and almost 90 minutes played at the weekend for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Fifa presidential election candidate Gianni Infantino was present. The Uefa general secretary sat in the VIP section on his mission to charm the Mozambican federation.
The two matches were the first in a busy six days of games across the continent as Africa plays a second round of knockout matches to cut down the World Cup field to 20 counties ahead of the start of the last group phase next year.