Niger in command after victory over Somalia

Moussa Maazou
Moussa Maazou inspired his side to vitcory

Niger have taken take command of their 2018 World Cup preliminary round qualifier against Somalia by winning Friday's first leg 2-0.

Moussa Maazou struck both goals in the space of four minutes in the second half.

The first came on 58 minutes and the striker, who plays for Chinese side Changchun Yatai, completed the scoring from the penalty spot on 62 minutes.

Somalia had to 'host' their home tie on neutral territory - in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia - because of the long-standing conflict in the horn of Africa.

Coach James Magala felt his side played well despite the defeat but was unhappy with their lack of accuracy in front of goal.

"We conceded two goals but we created about five chances ourselves. But when you don't score at this level you get punished," he told BBC Sport.

"We will have to go into the next leg looking for goals."

Swaziland are on the verge of qualification after hammering Djibouti 6-0, with their home leg of the tie to come on Tuesday.

Djibouti kept the visitors at bay until stoppage time at the end of the first half when Mthunzi Mkhontfo became the first of six different Swaziland scorers.

After the break Swaziland took full control, with Sabelo Ndzinisa, Muzi Dlamini, Sandile Hlatjwako, Tony Tsabedze and Mxolisi Lukhele all grabbing a goal each.

In the late kick-off on Friday, The Gambia came from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Namibia.

Petrus Shitembi put Namibia ahead after 64 minutes, with an away goal which could prove vital after the two legs.

But the hosts gave themselves hope ahead of the away leg with an equaliser from captain Abdou Jammeh 14 minutes later.

The Gambia's Swansea City winger Modou Barrow did not play and will not feature in the away leg either because he wants to concentrate on his career at the English Premier League side having only just returned there form a loan spell at Blackburn.

There has been speculation that the 22-year-old asked not to be included in the squad over the selection of Omar Jagne.

Barrow said: "I am 100% disappointed with the claims that I rejected the call-ups over Omar Jagne. This is false and meant to tarnish my image."

The 13 winners of the two-legged preliminary round ties advance to the second round, where they will be joined by the 27 seeded countries.

The teams have already been drawn into ties, which will be played on a home-and-away basis. The 20 winners advance to the group phase, where they will be drawn into five groups of four teams each, with the winners of the groups advancing to the finals.

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