By Mark Gleeson
CAPETOWN (Reuters) – Ramadan Agab notched a hat-trick as Sudan beat Chad 3-1 away in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday but it was lowly-ranked Somalia who stole the spotlight by defeating Zimbabwe 1-0 to record their first ever World Cup win.
Ranked 202nd in the world, Somalia halted a run of 19 successive defeats stretching back eight years to secure their first qualifying win as Anwar Sid Ali Shakunda scored an 87th- minute winner in Djibouti.
Zimbabwe, who played in the Africa Cup of Nations finals two months ago and are 90 places higher in the FIFA rankings, had been expected to easily win a game played on neutral territory because of the unstable security situation in Somalia.
They had several scares, however, before Shakunda rose to head home at the back post and earn Somalia a first win in a major tournament preliminary since beating Kenya in Cup of Nations qualification in 1984.
Somalia, with seven debutants among a number of new players from immigrant communities in Europe and north America, still have to get through 90 minutes of Tuesday’s return match in Harare if they are to advance to the group stage.
Agab’s hat-trick ensured a handy lead for Sudan to take home for the second leg.
He opened the scoring early in Ndjamena and extended the lead when Chad goalkeeper goalkeeper Adoum Defallah hit his goal kick straight at Agab who needed no second invitation to put the ball in the net after 67 minutes.
He completed his treble with a close-range finish six minutes later. Chad’s consolation goal came from an 85th-minute penalty converted by captain Ezechiel N’Douassel.
Two goals in four minutes helped Rwanda to a comfortable 3-0 away win over the Seychelles in their first-round first-leg qualifier in Victoria.
Muhadjiri Hakizimana opened the scoring just after the half hour and Yannick Mukunzi soon doubled the lead.
Meddy Kagare made sure of the biggest winning margin of the African qualifiers so far with the third goal 10 minutes from time.
Rwanda host the return leg in Kigali on Tuesday.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)