Nigeria, other countries that have so far qualified for 2023 AFCON

Striker Kelechi Ihenacho scored a stoppage time winner as Nigeria beat Sierra Leone 3-2 in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to become one of four countries on Sunday to be added to the list of finalists for next year’s tournament.

Guinea Bissau also qualified from Group A, as Sierra Leone’s hopes of catching them were ended, while the Cape Verde Islands are through from Group B and Mali from Group G.

They join hosts Ivory Coast, holders Senegal, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia in the finals in January.

Iheanacho’s winner brought relief to Nigeria who had let a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a Victor Osimhen double, slip as Sierra Leone made a gutsy comeback to 2-2 and came close to scoring a third.

But their slim hopes were ended by a simple back post tap-in by the Leicester City striker just before the final whistle.

Guinea Bissau, who had beaten Sao Tome e Principe on Wednesday, were then also guaranteed a top two finish and a fourth successive finals appearance.

Cape Verde, who also draw heavily on players from their migrant population in Portugal, beat Burkina Faso 3-1 at home to book their place.

Former Manchester United midfielder Bebe opened the scoring before goals from Joao Paulo and Cle ensured progress.

Mali won 2-0 away against Congo to qualify for a ninth successive finals with Ibrahima Kone and Nene Dorgeles scoring in the final 30 minutes in Brazzaville.


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