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Egypt hit five, champ Elephants held

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AS Roma's Mohamed Salah in action during the friendly soccer match AS Roma vs Sevilla FC at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy, 14 August 2015. Salah scored in Egypt's 5-1 win in their 2017 AFCON qualifier on Sunday. PHOTO/EFE

AS Roma’s Mohamed Salah in action during the friendly soccer match AS Roma vs Sevilla FC at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy, 14 August 2015. Salah scored in Egypt’s 5-1 win in their 2017 AFCON qualifier on Sunday. PHOTO/EFE

JOHANNESBURG, September 7- Egypt crushed Chad 5-1 while title-holders Ivory Coast missed talisman Yaya Toure when held 0-0 by Sierra Leone in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Sunday.

Cameroon won 1-0 in Gambia and the Central African Republic shocked the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 in other matchday 2 games.

Libya fluffed two penalties when losing 2-1 to Cape Verde and Benin and Mali drew 1-1 in a west Africa showdown.

Emerging young star Bassem Morsi scored a hat-trick as Egypt replaced Nigeria as Group G leaders with a show of force in N’Djamena.

Mohamed Salah and Kahraba, real name Mahmoud Abdel Moneim, got the Pharaohs’ other goals and Nadjim Haroun scored for Chad.

Morsi struck twice during a first half that ended with the visitors leading 3-1 and completed his hat-trick with the last goal on 62 minutes.

Record seven-time African champions Egypt are chasing a place at the Cup of Nations in Gabon after failing to qualify for the past three tournaments.

They have shown a clinical streak in qualifying under Argentina-born former Valencia manager Hector Cuper, trouncing Tanzania 3-0 three months ago in the opening round.

Egypt have six points, three-time champions Nigeria four, Tanzania one and Chad are pointless with just the group winners guaranteed a finals spot.

Ivory Coast made a disappointing start to their defence of a title won in Equatorial Guinea last February after a penalty shootout against Ghana.

An Elephants team lacking unavailable Toure and injured striker Wilfried Bony struggled in heavy, wet Port Harcourt conditions against combative opponents.

A home fixture for Sierra Leone, it was switched to southern Nigeria because of the Ebola epidemic.

The match marked the debut of Michel Dussuyer as coach of the Ivorians after fellow Frenchman Herve Renard quit to join Ligue 1 outfit Lille.

Sudan head Group I — the only mini-league containing three nations — with three points followed by Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone with one each.

Vincent Aboubakar was the Cameroon match-winner for the second matchday running with his mid-second half goal sufficient to beat Gambia in rain-drenched Banjul.

Four-time African champions Cameroon top Group M with six points, Mauritania have three and Gambia and South Africa one apiece.

Central African Republic recovered from a matchday 1 mauling in Angola three months ago to upset 2015 Cup of Nations bronze medalists DR Congo 2-0 in Bangui.

Both goals came during the opening half with Vianney Mabide converting a penalty and Junior Gourrier doubling the advantage of the hosts.

Angola are the Group B pacesetters with four points, Central African Republic and DR Congo have three each and Madagascar one.

Ryan Mendes scored in the final minute to grab a 2-1 victory for Cape Verde over Libya, who staged the home fixture in Cairo because of post-Moamer Kadhafi-era violence.

Carlos da Graca put the island state ahead in the second half and Almaetasm Al Mosrati levelled four minutes from time.

Libya failed to convert two penalties with Hamdo Al Masri and Mohamed Zubya the culprits.

Abdoulaye Diaby put Mali ahead in Cotonou and Jordan Adeoti equalised before half-time for Benin.

Mali top Group C with four points followed by South Sudan (three), Benin (two) and 2015 Cup of Nations semi-finalists Equatorial Guinea (one).

Matchday 3 fixtures are scheduled for next March.

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