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Page last updated at 16:27 GMT, Sunday, 10 October 2010 17:27 UK

Morocco move to Group D summit in qualifiers

Morocco striker Mounir El Hamdaoui
Morocco's Mounir El Hamdaoui scored the only goal in Dar-es-Salaam

Algeria's run of poor form hit a new low on Sunday with a shock 2-0 defeat by Central African Republic in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

The hosts were the more lively in attack throughout a game played in heavy rain.

But they had to wait until the 81st minute to make their superiority count, with Audin Boutou firing home from 20 yards.

Kethevoama Therence scored the second on the break five minutes later.

The triumph in Bangui was one of the biggest upsets in Nations Cup qualifying history, marking only the second time the Central African Republic had ever won a competitive qualifier.

Rarely entering the tournament and having only ever played in a single World Cup qualifying campaign before, CAR's last success came as far back as 1973.

Algeria now have just a single point from their opening two 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers after being held at home by Tanzania last month in another upset result.

"I was shocked with just how average the Algerian team looked," CAR's French coach Jules Accorsi told reporters after the match.

Algeria have not won in seven games and lie bottom of Group D, which is led by CAR on goal difference ahead of Morocco after two matches.

Rabeh Saadane, who led Algeria to only their third World Cup finals in June, quit as coach after a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Tanzania in its opening African Cup qualifier.

However, new coach Abdelhak Benchikha has been unable to reverse a run of form which has seen Algeria fail to win a match since beating the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals in January.

CAR pressurised the visitors from the start, as Algeria struggled in the absence of injured midfielders Karim Ziani and Karim Matmour, who both play in Germany's Bundesliga.

Lecce midfielder Djemal Mesbah had a chance for Algeria in the first half, but shot straight at the goalkeeper.

In the second half, Central Africa could have taken the lead earlier than it did but Abdelkader Ghezzal missed the target after being set up by Rafik Djebbour.

When Boutou finally drilled home late on, disbelieving fans flooded the pitch in an impromptu invasion to celebrate the start of an unlikely triumph.

Meanwhile Morocco moved to joint top of Group D on Saturday thanks to their 1-0 away win over Tanzania.

Striker Mounir El-Hamdaoui scored two minutes before half-time for the Atlas Lions to win the game in Dar-es-Salaam.

El-Hamdaoui capitalized on a lapse in defence to fire a left-footed volley past stunned goalkeeper Juma Kaseja.

Morocco, after starting qualifying with a scoreless draw against Central Africa, improved to four points.

The Atlas Lions travel to Algeria in their next game in March next year, while Tanzania host the Central African Republic.

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see also
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African
Botswana top group as Tunisia win
11 Aug 10 |  African

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