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May 30, 2017

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Ghana secure berth in African Cup

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Ghana, Nigeria and defending champion Zambia qualified for the 2013 African Cup of Nations, while Ivory Coast reportedly made it through despite its match against Senegal being abandoned after crowd trouble on Saturday.

Didier Drogba's 76th-minute penalty put Ivory Coast 2-0 ahead on the night and 6-2 up on aggregate when frustrated Senegalese fans began lighting fires in Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium and attacking the visiting supporters.

Riot police were called in and tear gas was used to quell the disturbance, which forced the players as well as the traveling fans to take refuge in the center of the pitch.

The match was subsequently abandoned, with the Senegalese Press Agency reporting that Ivory Coast was awarded the tie and a place in the African Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.

"The match was halted and the Lions of Senegal will not qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations," the APS said. "Senegal will now incur a sanction from the Confederation of African —."

The day's most dramatic turnaround saw Morocco overcome a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their tie with Mozambique as Abdelaziz Barrada, Houssine Kharja, Youssef Al Arabi and Nordin Amrabat all netted for the Lions of the Atlas.

Mozambique had arrived in Marrakech with high hopes of qualifying at the expense of 1976 champion Morocco, but the 4-0 defeat instead left Gert Engels' side reeling.

Debutant Afriyie Acquah's early goal for Ghana ensured the Black Stars became the first team to qualify for the Cup as they beat Malawi 1-0 in Lilongwe.

Ghana went into the match with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, and Acquah's strike after just two minutes ensured the four-time champions will be present in South Africa early next year.

Mali delivered a firm statement of its abilities as it thrashed Botswana 4-1 in Gaborone, meaning the Eagles qualify on an aggregate score of 7-1, but defending champion Zambia required a penalty shootout to progress at the expense of Uganda by a score of 9-8.

Zambia held a 1-0 advantage going into the second-leg clash in Kampala, but Geoffrey Massa's first-half strike drew the hosts level in the tie, which went to a penalty shootout after 90 minutes.

Chipolopolo won the 2012 championship in a dramatic shootout against Ivory Coast, and they held their nerve again to beat Uganda and book their place in the finals.

Mali led 1-0 at the break, but underlined their dominance with three second-half strikes before Botswana claimed a late consolation goal.

Two-time champion Nigeria, which failed to qualify for the 2012 finals, ensured that the team will return in 2013 after thumping a hapless Liberia 6-1 in Calabar.

A 2-2 draw in the first leg had left the tie finely balanced, but first-half goals from Efe Ambrose and Ahmed Musa put Nigeria in charge before the hosts cruised in the second half.

Chelsea's Victor Moses grabbed a second-half brace, while John Obi Mikel and Ike Uche also scored for the Super Eagles.

Captain Gebro Duncan was sent off for Liberia, and Patrick Wleh's late goal was the only bright spot for the visitors.

A 0-0 draw with Sierra Leone was good enough for Tunisia to secure their 11th consecutive finals, as they progressed on the away goals rule after the first leg in Freetown was drawn 2-2.

Sierra Leone's Djibril Sanko was dismissed for a foul on Tunisia's Hamdi Harbaoui during the first half, and although Tunisia was unable to capitalize on its numerical advantage, the host achieved the result it wanted.

There are eight more second-leg matches on Sunday.

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