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Ugandan teen Miya bags World Cup brace

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UGANDA CRANES FANS
Cranes fan celebrates after Uganda thrashed Togo 3-0 in the return leg of the 2018 FIFI World Cup qualifier. PHOTO/ Courtesy.

KAMPALA, November 15 – Seventeen-year-old Farouk Miya bagged a brace to help Uganda trounce Togo 3-0 Sunday and advance to the group stage of 2018 World Cup qualifying in Africa.

Captain Geoffrey Massa scored the other goal in Kampala as Uganda qualified 4-0 on aggregate after matching their record home victory margin in a qualifier for the global football showpiece.

Zambia also advanced from the second knockout round with post-half-time goals by Lubambo Musonda and Winston Kalengo delivering a 2-0 win over Sudan in Ndola.

The Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), among the strongest African national teams never to play at the World Cup, progressed 3-0 overall.

Although the Democratic Republic of Congo were held 2-2 at home by Burundi and Morocco lost 1-0 away to Equatorial Guinea, both former World Cup qualifiers were overall winners.

Gabon were first to reach the five-group stage, which kicks off next October, beating Mozambique in a penalty shootout in Libreville Saturday after a 1-1 aggregate stalemate.

Uganda, buoyant after a historic first World Cup qualifying away win last Thursday, were ahead within five minutes at a packed, vibrant Nelson Mandela National Stadium.

Burly Massa was given time and space to line up a shot from outside the area that goalkeeper N’Guissan Djehani should have saved, but he allowed the ball to creep into the corner of the net.

Miya, a regular scorer this year for the national under-23 team, struck twice in the final five minutes of opening half as near-total Ugandan dominance was translated into goals.

He finished off a counterattack in which Uganda outnumbered Togo by four players to two, then latched on to a headed pass across the goalmouth and scored again.

The woodwork foiled the Ugandan Cranes of a fourth goal during the second half as the idea-less Togolese Sparrowhawks offered little resistance.

After a dreary opening half at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Zambia went ahead just before the hour when Musonda pounced on a parried clearance by goalkeeper Akram El Hadi Salim to fire home.

Kalengo, scorer of the winner in Sudan four days ago, doubled the second-leg lead with a run past a defender and an unstoppable shot.

Fiston Abdul Razak converted an 89th-minute penalty at Stade de Martyrs in Kinshasa to give Burundi a surprise draw against DR Congo, who advanced 5-4 overall thanks to a midweek away win.

Four-time World Cup qualifiers Morocco were grateful for the two-goal lead they took to Estadio de Bata, which gave them a 2-1 aggregate success after Equatoguinean Rui scored the lone return-match goal on 14 minutes.

Guinea hold a 1-0 lead when they host Namibia late Sunday in Morocco because of the Ebola epidemic, and the remaining 14 second legs are set for Tuesday.

Five places have been reserved for Africa at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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