Salah strikes again!

MAPUTO - Egypt secured their place in the knockout stage of the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers when they defeated Mozambique 1-0 at the Estadio da Machava in Maputo on yesterday afternoon.

Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the match in the 40th minute to help the Pharaohs maintain their perfect record of five consecutive wins.

The FC Basel continued with his impressive scoring form after netting a hat-trick against Zimbabwe last weekend.

Salah helped Swiss club Basle reach the Europa League semifinals this year and he was once again the star for Egypt, scoring the only goal in the Mozambican capital five minutes before halftime.

The 'Pharaohs' maintained the only perfect record in the African qualifying competition with a fifth consecutive victory and finish their schedule at home to second-place Guinea.

The result leaves Bob Bradley’s side at the top of the table with 15 points, eight points ahead of Guinea, who still have to complete their fifth fixture against Zimbabwe.

Egypt are looking to return to the World Cup for the first time since 1990 after failing to qualify for the last four editions.

Their final group match will be at home against Guinea in September.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast yesterday joined Egypt by reaching the play-offs in the Africa zone of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

Reigning African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure netted twice in Dar es Salaam as Ivory Coast recovered from conceding a second-minute goal to defeat Tanzania 4-2 in Group C and they cannot be overtaken.

Ghana, who were quarterfinalists the last World Cup, took a significant step toward reaching the play-offs with a 2-0 win over Lesotho in Maseru thanks to goals from Christian Atsu and captain Asamoah Gyan.

The 'Black Stars' moved one point ahead of Zambia in Group D and host the shock 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions in the final series of mini-league fixtures during September.

A stoppage-time goal from substitute Wilfried Bony sealed victory for Ivory Coast, who recovered from conceding an early goal to lead 3-2 at halftime in a thriller at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

Toure bagged a first-half brace after Lacina Traore had equalised while Amri Kiemba and Thomas Ulimwengu scored for the 'Taifa Stars', who stayed third behind Ivory Coast and Morocco. – Agencies

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