World Cup 2018: African giants eager to avoid upsets

Egypt player Ali Gaber
Egypt's defeat by Chad was their first in five matches

Egypt head a number of African heavyweights with plenty to do to advance from the second round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The Pharaohs suffered a shock 1-0 loss away to Chad in the first leg of their tie last week but will have home advantage on Tuesday to help them erase the deficit.

Ezechiel Ndouassel scored Chad's winner, which also gave new coach Rigobert Song a brilliant start to his reign.

While the odds are against Chad completing the job, former Cameroon midfielder Song will be hoping his side can produce another stunning upset.

Ghana, Algeria and Nigeria also came away from road trips with surprise results as they were all held by opponents they had been expected to beat.

The Black Stars' 0-0 draw with Comoros - the lowest ranked African side still in the qualifiers and 159 places below Ghana - was, perhaps, the most embarrassing result suffered by the continent's big names.

Captain Asamoah Gyan is in determined mood to make amends.

"We know we were not up to the task in the first game so we will make sure we turn things around, " he said.

Algeria, who have only just lost their place as Africa's number one side, also need to put in a strong display with their tie with Tanzania level at 2-2.

The two away goals give the Desert Foxes an advantage but they will have been disappointed that their defence was breached twice.

Tanzania had taken a two-goal lead in the first match only for Islam Slimani to rescue Algeria with a brace. The striker will want to finish the job in Blida.

While Nigeria did not concede in their first leg with Swaziland, the Super Eagles will be concerned by their lack of goals.

Coach Sunday Oliseh was rocked by the retirement of striker Emmanuel Emenike last month and he must quickly find a forward line that will provide a cutting edge.

Oliseh played with three strikers against Swaziland and he brought on Obafemi Martins and Kelechi Iheanacho in the second half. It will be interesting to see how he sets his team up for the game in Port Harcourt.

Kenya have hurt their chances of protecting their 1-0 lead over Cape Verde after a row over payments delayed their departure. The Harambee Stars, who have a nine-hour flight, will arrive less than 24 hours before kick-off.

Elsewhere, Mali face a shock elimination unless they can overturn a 2-1 deficit against Botswana. Mali have finished third in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2012 and 2013 and were heavy favourites to knock out the Zebras.

Senegal should see off the challenge of Madagascar, who achieved a superb 2-2 draw in the first leg but are unlikely to be able to resist the Teranga Lions on their own ground.

The 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists will look to their big names, such as first-leg scorers Mame Biram Diouf and Sadio Mane, to dominate the India Ocean island side.

The 14 overall winners will join the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Morocco, Uganda and Zambia in the group stage, which kicks off next October.

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