x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Ivory Coast and Germany through

Round-up A draw and a 1-0 win for Ivory Coast and Germany respectively book their places in next summer's finals, while England lose to Ukraine.

Russia's Igor Denisov, right, challenges Germany's Mesut Ozil during their match at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.
Russia's Igor Denisov, right, challenges Germany's Mesut Ozil during their match at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

Didier Drogba, the Chelsea striker, came off the bench to score the goal that saw the Ivory Coast qualify for the World Cup for only the second time. Drogba's second-half equaliser in the 1-1 draw away to Malawi meant that the unbeaten Ivory Coast, who were knocked out in the first round in Germany in 2006, top Group E with 13 points from five qualifying games. They join Ghana's Black Stars, and hosts South Africa, as the three African teams qualified so far. Three places are left. Jacob Ngwira put Malawi ahead in the 64th minute of Saturday's game, but then their Bosnian manager Vahid Halilhodzic threw Drogba on as a substitute and three minutes later he scored to take his international tally to 39 goals in 57 games for his country. Hosny Abd Rabo, who plays for Pro League champions Al Ahli, scored a 70th-minute goal to give African Nations Cup holders Egypt a 1-0 win over Zambia to maintain their chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup. The win moves Egypt level with Algeria on 10 points at the top of Group C, but Algeria have played a game less and can stay three points clear if they beat Rwanda at home today. Egypt face Algeria in a decisive final match at the Cairo International stadium next month. Cameroon, bidding to qualify for the World Cup for an African record sixth time, moved within one victory of securing their passage to next year's finals by beating Togo 3-0. Geremi gave the Indomitable Lions the lead just after the half-hour, one minute after having his penalty stopped by Togo's Kodjovi Obilale. Jean Makoun and Achille Emana added two more goals after the interval as Cameroon, coached by Frenchman Paul LeGuen, coasted to victory. Togo's torment was summed up when Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was taken off midway through the second period. Gabon beat Morocco 3-1 in Libreville to keep up their hopes after losing two games to Cameroon last month. In Europe Germany sealed their spot in South Africa by beating their main rivals Russia 1-0 away in Moscow. The Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose struck in the 35th minute and Germany, who had Jerome Boateng sent off with 20 minutes left, hung on to clinch their 17th appearance in the game's most famous competition. Defender Philippe Senderos scored with two headers in the first eight minutes to lead Switzerland to a 3-0 win over Luxembourg. Benjamin Huggel scored Switzerland's 1,000th goal in its history in the 23rd minute with a header from a set piece. In Group 6, Ukraine ended already-qualified England's perfect World Cup run with a deserved 1-0 home win. England had won their first eight games to secure top spot in the group but their chances of extending that run virtually disappeared after 14 minutes when goalkeeper Robert Green was sent off for bringing down Artem Milevskiy. Andriy Shevchenko missed the resulting penalty but Ukraine, who created several chances throughout the game, got the decisive goal after 29 minutes when Sergiy Nazarenko's shot flew in via Ashley Cole's head. In the group's other game Belarus romped to a 4-0 win over Kazakhstan thanks to goals from Maksim Bordache, Timofei Kalachev (2) and Leonid Kovel. European champions Spain laboured to a 2-1 win over Armenia in Group 5. Juanma Mata scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 64th minute as the Iberians extended their winning streak to nine matches. Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Estonia 2-0 after goals from Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic to clinch second spot in Group 5. Elsewhere, Scotland manager George Burley insisted the friendly with Japan had been worthwhile after watching six players start for the first time in a 2-0 defeat in Yokohama's Nissan Stadium yesterday. "It was a good workout," said Burley. "Japan had most of the possession and played some nice football without maybe creating too many chances." Bahrain wasted several second-half goal-scoring opportunities in a 0-0 draw with New Zealand in their Asia/Oceania World Cup play-off first leg on in Manama. Salman Isa had the best chance to give the home side an advantage heading into the second leg in Wellington on November 14 when he rounded goalkeeper Mark Paston in the 75th minute but his shot slammed into the post.

* With agencies