CAPE TOWN: African champions Algeria maintained their two-year unbeaten run with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in the Austrian Alps on Friday on a busy night of international football for African countries.
Mali upset Ghana 3-0 in their meeting in Turkey, Morocco beat Senegal 3-1 at home while Cameroon held Japan to a goalless draw in their friendly in the Netherlands.
There were also wins for Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kenya, Mauritania and Tunisia.
Rami Bensebaini’s sixth-minute goal, scrambled home from a corner, was enough to ensure victory for Algeria in Sankt Veit an der Glan, where Nigeria are hosting a week-long training camp.
Algeria have now gone 15 games without defeat over the last two years, including winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
They are among a host of African countries who have decamped to Europe for the international window to play friendlies ahead of next month’s resumption of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
With the bulk of many teams’ squads drawn from players based at European clubs, it has been easier to play the games in Europe than in Africa amid COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Mali scored through captain Hamari Traore after three minutes, with El Bilal Toure and Amadou Haidara adding second-half goals as they upset a strong Ghana side, including new Arsenal signing Thomas Partey, in Antalya, Turkey.
Senegal had to do without talisman Sadio Mane, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, as they went down 3-1 in Rabat to Morocco.
Morocco used Hakim Ziyech as a second-half substitute despite Chelsea’s new signing having yet to make his debut for his club because of an early-season injury.
Burkina Faso enjoyed a one-sided 3-0 victory over the Democratic Republic of Congo with new Aston Villa signing Bertrand Traore among the scorers.
Assan Ceesay scored the only goal as the Gambia upset Congo 1-0 in their friendly played in Portugal while Mauritania won 2-1 at home against Sierra Leone.
Tunisia were 3-0 home winners against Sudan while Kenya beat a home-based Zambia side 2-1 in Nairobi.
The games were the first played by African countries since last November.
(Editing by Toby Davis)