Algeria, Egypt back to winning in World Cup qualifying

CAPE TOWN, SOUNTH AFRICA (AP) – Riyad Mahrez scored twice as African champion Algeria romped to a 6-1 win over Niger to return to winning ways in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

Egypt took top spot in its group from Libya by edging their encounter 1-0.

Ivory Coast claimed the other most significant result of the day as Max-Alain Gradel thumped in a volley to send the Ivorians on their way to a 3-0 victory in Malawi.

Manchester City’s Mahrez opened the scoring for Algeria in the 27th minute in Blida but the other five Algerian goals came in the second half, including Mahrez’s second from the penalty spot.

Islam Slimani also scored a late brace as the Algerians rebounded from a draw in their last qualifier in Burkina Faso. Algeria and Burkina Faso are tied on seven points at the top of Group A after Burkina Faso won in Djibouti 4-0.

Mohamed Salah was back on home soil with his national team after missing Egypt’s first home game of the qualifying campaign because of British travel regulations, which would have forced him to quarantine for 10 days before returning to action with Liverpool.

Salah started but it was Omar Marmoush’s goal just after halftime that gave Egypt three points at Borg el-Arab Stadium and Carlos Queiroz a winning start as the Pharaohs’ new head coach.