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2026 World Cup (Q): Algeria and Egypt strike first as Nigeria stumble against Lesotho

Mohamed Salah
2026 World Cup (Q): Algeria and Egypt strike first as Nigeria stumble against Lesotho

The first day of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup continued on Thursday November 16.Algeria, Egypt and Gabon got their campaign off to a good start, while Nigeria were held to a draw at home by Lesotho.

Algeria's slow start

Algeria kick off their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a victory. Les Fennecs beat Somalia 3-1 at home on Thursday November 16. Djamel Belmadi's men opened the scoring early on thanks to an own goal from Somali midfielder Ahmed Abdullahi Abdi (2nd). The Algerians couldn't have wished for a better start.

They broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark through Baghdad Bounedjah (31st). The Algerian striker half-volleyed in a cross from the right. Yusuf Ahmed reduced the deficit for the Somalis (65th), before Islam Slimani scored his side's 3rd goal with 10 minutes remaining. Algeria now top the group.

Mohamed Salah and Egypt crush Djibouti

Egypt beat Djibouti 6-0. Mohamed Salah, who has made an extraordinary start to the season with Liverpool, shone in this match. The Egyptian striker scored a quadruple. After opening the scoring in the 17th minute, Salah doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd. He scored his 3rd and 4th goals of the match in the 49th and 69th minutes, before handing over to Mostafa Mohamed (73rd) and Trézéguet (89th).

The Pharaohs are now provisionally top of Group A and continue their fine run of form. In their last 12 matches, Egypt have lost just once (10 wins, one draw and one defeat).

Gabon's fine operation

Gabon are off to a good start in their qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup. The Panthers beat Kenya (2-1). Denis Bouanga, top scorer in Major League Soccer (MLS), put his side on the right track in the 60th minute. Guelor Kanga followed suit two minutes from time (88th).


Super Eagles underperform

Nigeria, on the other hand, were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Lesotho. Having struggled to open the scoring despite an attack led by Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi, the Super Eagles were caught by surprise by the visitors. Motlomelo Mkhwanazi put his side ahead in the 56th minute. The Nigerians even had to rely on the West Bromwich Albion defender after the hour mark (67th).The score remained level. Nigeria make a timid start.The Super Eagles travel to Zimbabwe on November 19 for Matchday 2.


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