CAIRO: The first four ties in the first round of the African qualifying competition for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have been wrapped up.
Ethiopia led the way courtesy of a 1-1 draw in Lesotho, a result that saw them advance on the away goals rule.
While the Ethiopians were celebrating, Tanzania and Burundi were battling it out in extra time after playing out 1-1 draws in each leg. The tie eventually went to penalties, where Burundi’s waywardness from the spot allowed the hosts to record a 3-0 shootout win and book their place in the second round.
Joining them there will be Equatorial Guinea thanks to Emilio Nsue’s solitary strike in their return leg against South Sudan, the two sides having played out a 1-1 draw in the first.
The day’s final qualifiers were Liberia, who were indebted to their 18-year-old goalkeeper Ashley Williams. With Sierra Leone leading 1-0 on the night and needing another goal to go through on the away-goals rule, the teenager pulled off a magnificent injury-time penalty save to ensure the Lone Stars progressed 3-2 on aggregate.
Lesotho 1-1 Ethiopia (1-1 on aggregate, Ethiopia win on away goals)
Tanzania 1-1 Burundi (2-2 on aggregate, Tanzania win 3-0 on penalties)
Sierra Leone 1-0 Liberia (Liberia win 3-2 on aggregate)
Equatorial Guinea 1-0 South Sudan (Equatorial Guinea win 2-1 on aggregate)