It was a disheartening evening for the African powerhouses as both Morocco and Tunisia succumbed to defeat, leaving South Africa and Equatorial Guinea celebrating their triumphs.
Equatorial Guinea entered Saturday’s match requiring just a single point to secure their qualification for the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023, joining Tunisia, who had already secured their place in the prestigious tournament.
The first half of the Group J game provided few scoring opportunities for both teams.
As the second half kicked off, spectators at the Malabo stadium witnessed a scrappy affair with only a handful of set pieces injecting some life into the proceedings.
One such moment came when Miranda’s strike for the Nzalang Nacional took a deflection, causing a brief surge of excitement.
In the 81st minute, Miranda was fouled by Kechrida, resulting in a penalty.
Equatorial Guinean captain Emilio Nsue stepped up and calmly converted the spot-kick. The Central Africans exacted revenge following their 4-0 defeat in the first leg against Tunisia.
Meanwhile, in the other Group J game played on Saturday, Botswana defeated Libya 1-0 Francistown Stadium to give the home side their first win of the qualifying campaign.
Gape Mohutsiwa scored the only goal of the match on the stroke of half-time to help the Zebras fans jubilate their first victory of the qualifying group.
The victory helped Botswana to leapfrog their opponents and move to third in the group but both sides have no chance of qualifying for the competition to be held in Cote d’Ivoire.