Sunday's Afcon qualifiers wrap: Mauritania seal maiden qualification

Mauritania secured their maiden Afcon ticket as they joined Guinea, Ivory Coast and Algeria, who also qualified on Sunday

Mauritania made history by qualifying for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament following a 2-1 win over Botswana at home on Sunday.

Moctar Sidi El Hacen and Ismail Diakite scored to clinch a come-from-behind victory for Mauritania, who conceded first courtesy of Keeagile Kobe's strike for Botswana.

Wild celebrations erupted in Nouakchott immediately after Diakite's later winner helped Mauritania consolidate their Group I lead where they now have 12 points with one match remaining.

The battle for the other qualification spot from this group is now between Angola and Burkina Faso who are separated by two points heading into the final match of the campaign.

Portugal-based veteran striker Mateus struck a brace to keep Angola’s hopes of Afcon qualification alive with a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso, who pulled a goal back through Issoufou Dayo at the Estadio 11 de Novembro.

The win saw Angola jump up to second spot and now need to beat Botswana away in their last match to ensure a safe passage to Cameroon, while Burkina Faso host already-qualified Mauritania.

Elsewhere, Group H leaders Guinea qualified for Cameroon 2019 about two hours before they clashed with Ivory Coast in Conakry, thanks to a 2-2 draw between Rwanda and Central African Republic (CAR).

The draw in Butare meant that third-placed CAR would fall way behind Guinea.

Guinea later drew 1-1 with Ivory Coast with Mohamed Yattara thrusting them ahead 11 minutes into the match, before Fulham midfielder Jean Michael Seri, levelled for Ivory Coast who also sealed qualification.

Also on Sunday, Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez struck a first half brace in the space of 15 minutes as Algeria thrashed Togo 4-1 away in Lome to book an Afcon spot with a game to spare.

The win saw Algeria cement their place at the top of Group D where they now have 10 points, three clear of second-placed Benin.

Youcef Attal and Baghdad Bounedjah were also on target for the Desert Foxes, while RSB Berkane forward Kodji Laba grabbed Togo a consolation goal.

The scramble for the final qualifying spot from this group is now between Benin, Togo and Gambia.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe blew a chance to qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) with a 1-0 Group G defeat by Liberia away.

Arriving in Monrovia unbeaten and needing just a point to confirm their Afcon ticket, the Zimbabwean Warriors fluffed a gluttony of good chances for which they dearly paid.

They were duly punished by Wydad Casablanca forward and Liberia captain William Jebor who struck 18 minutes from time to hand the Lone Star their second win of the campaign that lifted them up from bottom to second spot with seven points.

However, Zimbabwe still lead Group G but are just a point clear of Liberia while DR Congo dropped to third place following a 1-1 with Congo Brazzaville on the same afternoon.

Zamalek forward Kabongo Kasongo put DR Congo ahead, before Turkey-based striker Thievy Bifouma equalised for the hosts who slid down to the bottom of the group.

Lastly in Maputo, 2012 African champions Zambia failed to qualify for the Afcon finals for the second edition running after falling down 1-0 to Mozambique.

A first half strike by Reginaldo Faife dashed Zambia’s hopes of an appearance in Cameroon next year as they remain rooted at the foot of Group K.