South Sudan and eSwatini picked up vital first leg away wins in the preliminary round of the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
At the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, South Sudan picked up a vital 4-2 victory over Djibouti, who are hosting their home matches up north due to the unavailability of an approved stadium at their backyard.
Tito Okello scored twice as the Bright Stars managed a vital victory away from home, to give them an advantage heading into the corresponding tie.
The two teams played with hands on the wall in the opening half, with no goals after 45 minutes. However, the second half exploded with a six-goal show.
Okello, formerly of Vipers SC of Uganda and Gor Mahia in Kenya broke the deadlock in the 54th minute from the penalty spot before Djibouti equalized just 10 minutes later. However, the South Sudanese restored their lead in the 68th minute through Toha Rashid.
Okello completed his brace in the 75th minute before William Gama completed the victory in the 89th minute. Djibouti pulled one back deep in storage time, but it wasn’t enough to stop The South Sudanese victory.
Somalia 0-3 eSwatini
Elsewhere at the national stadium in Dar es Salaam, eSwatini thrashed Somalia 3-0. The Ocean Stars are hosting their games in Dar es Salaam due to the unavailability of a home ground back home.
Bonginkosi Dlamini opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, a lead that the Southern African side kept till halftime.
In the second half, Fanelo Mamba scored a second in the 65th minute, before Gamedze Sandile completed the healthy win three minutes from time. The second leg will be played at the Mbombela Stadium in South Africa on Sunday.
Chad 0-1 Gambia
Meanwhile in Cameroon, a goal in the final 10 minutes by Steve Trawally gave Gambia a 1-0 away advantage against Chad.
Gambia who were one of the surprise packages at the 2021 tournament in Cameroon have now put themselves in a slight advantage heading into the second in Morocco on Tuesday.
Seychelles 0-0 Lesotho
In another match, Seychelles and Lesotho played out to a barren draw.