Nigeria kept alive their hopes of a World Cup finals place alive with a dramatic last-gasp goal to beat Mozambique 1-0 in African Group B on Sunday.
Victor Nsofor Obinna, who plays in the Spanish La Liga for Malaga, scored deep into stoppage time for the Super Eagles. A draw would have meant group leaders Tunisia, who beat Kenya 1-0, would have clinched their spot for South Africa next year. Issam Jomaa scored in the first minute to seal a Tunisian victory which leaves them two points clear of Nigeria ahead of the final round of matches on November. Tunisia must visit Mozambique and Nigeria go to Kenya, with the added twist that the two hosts are fighting for third spot in the group and qualification for the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola. Three-time World Cup qualifiers Nigeria looked doomed as a well-organized Mozambique side kept their attacks at bay in the national stadium in Abuja. But in the third minute of added time Mozambique keeper Joao Kapango could only parry a shot by Obafemi Martins and Obinna headed home.
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African powerhouses Nigeria would have failed to qualify for the second straight World Cup in succession but for the late lifeline. Tunisia, who forced a crucial draw in Nigeria in the previous round of matches, made a perfect start when Jomaa heading past goalkeeper Willis Ochieng with barely a minute played. They must now win in Mozambique next month to make sure of a fourth consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals. In other African qualifying action, Ghana, who became the first from the continent to reach the 2010 finals last month, were beaten 1-0 by Benin in a Group D match Cotonou. Ghana fielded a strong team, including Chelsea’s Michael Essien, but went down to a Mohamed Aoudou goal in stoppage time. The victory boosted Benin’s hopes of qualifying for the African Nations Cup, but Mali later moved into second in the group with a 1-0 win over 10-man Sudan. Sevilla star Frederic Kanoute scored in the 89th minute after Sudan defender Saeed Mustapha Balla was sent off in the 41st. Burkina Faso booked their place in Angola with a 2-1 win over Guinea in a Group E match. Moumouni Dagano scored a goal in each half to seal a victory which takes them to second place in the group behind Ivory Coast, who qualified for the World Cup finals on Saturday.