France: Police clash with Algeria fans after AFCON win
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Comoros have stunned the footballing world after qualifying for the last-16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations – despite the current edition of Africa’s most prestigious competition being the first in their history.
Currently sat at 132 in the FIFA World rankings, Comoros have only ever competed in the COSAFA Cup, which pits all the teams in southern Africa against each other.
Their best finish in that competition was in 2019, where they reached the quarter finals after drawing with Eswatini and Mauritius before being knocked out by Zimbabwe.
However, qualification for the 2021 AFCON was confirmed after finishing second in their group consisting of giants Egypt, Kenya and Togo.
Just one loss in six group games raised many eyebrows across the continent as Africa’s favourite ‘new minnows’.
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Expected to finish rock bottom of their group stage proper, little to no people had hopes for the country consisting of under one million people.
Yet their incredible 3-2 win over Ghana proved crucial to their campaign – and the Coelacantes have moved to the last-16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.
A 1-0 loss to Gabon in their opening fixture looked as though it would set a precedent for the tournament.
This was followed by a 2-0 loss to Morocco, although Gabon’s last minute equaliser against Ghana meant that the side knew they would qualify with win over the ‘Black Stars’.
And that they did in a pulse-raising game against Ghana, going 2-0 up and surrending the lead before an 85th-minute winner by hero Ahmed Mogni.
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Mogni, who plays his football at French outfit FC Annecy in their third-tier, jubilantly declared the victory ‘special’.
“This is something special – this victory is historic,” he said.
“When we open the history books in the next couple of years, it will be all these players who will be inside.”
And, not to get ahead of himself, coach Amir Abdou claimed his side could qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
“I believe it’s possible that this team can have a World Cup qualification,” added Marseille-born Abdou.
Comoros will face hosts Cameroon on Monday in a bid to qualify for the quarter finals.
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