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Africa Cup of Nations: Holders Nigeria crash out at qualifying stage

Sone Aluko, Nigeria v South Africa
Image: Sone Aluko: Hull striker's two goals not enough for Nigeria

Holders Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after being held to a 2-2 draw by South Africa.

Nigeria had to beat the Group A winners in their last qualifier at their new stadium in Uyo to stand a chance of defending their title in Equatorial Guinea early next year.

They were 2-0 down shortly after half-time, however, after quick goals either side of the interval from Bournemouth striker Tokelo Rantie.

Hull forward Sone Aluko pulled a goal back for Nigeria just after the break, but his second goal of the game - deep into added time - came too late as they failed to take advantage of playing against 10 men for the last 19 minutes.

Congo finished second behind South Africa after a 1-0 win in Sudan, where Francis Ndanga's second-half free-kick ensured that veteran coach Claude Le Roy will go to a record-extending eighth tournament.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals draw will take place on Wednesday 3 December in Malabo.

  • Pot 1: Equatorial Guinea (hosts), Ghana, Zambia, Burkina Faso.
  • Pot 2: Ivory Coast, Mali, Tunisia, Algeria.
  • Pot 3: Cape Verde, South Africa, Gabon, DR Congo.
  • Pot 4: Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, Congo.

Guinea beat Uganda 2-0 in Casablanca to finish second in Group E behind Ghana, who topped the standings after a 3-1 home win over Togo.

They had to move their match to a neutral venue in Morocco because of a ban on playing at home where the deadly Ebola virus has claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Mali ended Algeria's 100 percent record in Group B to book their place with Seydou Keita scoring a first-half penalty and Mustapha Yatabare adding a second after the break in a 2-0 win in Bamako.

That result was enough to put them through along with the Ivory Coast, who managed the draw they needed with Cameroon to progress.

Cameroon had Stephane Mbia sent off with half an hour remaining, but Ivory Coast could not break the 10-men down and had to settle for a nervy 0-0 draw.

The sole third-place finisher to qualify proved to be the Democratic Republic of Congo, who benefitted from two goals by Crystal Palace midfielder Yannick Bolasie in their 3-1 win over Sierra Leone.

Record winners Egypt could have snatched their spot had they won by two goals away in Tunisia, but they fell to a 2-1 defeat despite leading 1-0 at half-time.

Algeria and the Cape Verde Islands qualified after just four group matches last month and were joined after the weekend's penultimate round by Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia.

New hosts Equatorial Guinea, disqualified in the preliminary knockout rounds for fielding an illegible player, have also been handed a place at the finals. 

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