Ivory Coast score nine against Seychelles for record victory
Ghana, however, need a late winner from Inaki Williams to beat Masagascar.
Ivory Coast players celebrate one of their nine goals against the Seychelles. Picture: Sia KAMBOU / AFP
Ivory Coast crushed Seychelles 9-0 in Abidjan on Friday to create a record winning margin for a World Cup qualifier in Africa.
Borussia Dortmund forward Sebastien Haller started the goal rush on 20 minutes and Karim Konate from Salzburg completed it five minutes into added time.
Konate and Hamed Traore scored two goals each and Haller, Ibrahim Sangare, Simon Adingra, Seko Fofana and Jean-Philippe Krasso one apiece in the matchday one Group F mismatch.
Seychelles, a tourist destination off the east coast of Africa, are 195th in the FIFA rankings, 121 places below the Ivory Coast.
The seedings for the first round of 2026 World Cup qualifying in Africa meant the nine top-ranked teams were paired at home against the nine bottom ones, so it was almost inevitable that there could be some one-sided matches.
Egypt put six past Djibouti on Thursday in Group A with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah netting four times.
Before the Abidjan goal deluge, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Algeria shared the record with eight-goal winning margins.
While the Ivorians scored freely, fellow west Africans Ghana had to wait 96 minutes before Inaki Williams snatched the goal that earned a 1-0 win against Madagascar in Group I.
The Bilbao forward possibly saved the job of under-fire Ghana coach Chris Hughton by heading a Gideon Mensah cross past goalkeeper Melvin Adrien in Kumasi.
– Special goal –
“This goal is very dear to me because my family was in the stadium,” said Spain-born Williams after scoring his first for the country of his parents.
Former Premier League manager Hughton has been under huge pressure since friendly losses to Mexico and the United States last month.
Cameroon, whose eight World Cup appearances is an African record, struggled for much of a Group D home match with minnows Mauritius before a couple of late goals completed a 3-0 win.
Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo broke the deadlock in first-half added time in Douala and Georges N’Koudou and Frank Magri netted when the visitors tired.
Tunisia, who have qualified six times for the global showpiece, also won comfortably at home, beating Sao Tome e Principe 4-0 in Group H in Rades.
Zambia continued a revival under former Chelsea manager Avram Grant with second-half goals from Fashion Sakala and Patson Daka delivering a 4-2 Group E win over Congo Brazzaville in Ndola.
Burkina Faso, who hope to challenge Egypt for the first place and automatic qualification for the 2026 finals from Group A, suffered a setback when held 1-1 by Guinea-Bissau.
Reigning African champions Senegal and South Africa are among the teams in action on Saturday, when the 26-fixture first round ends. Matchday two begins on Sunday.