Hakim Ziyech’s early penalty set Morocco on their way to a 2-1 win over Zambia in African qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, while Ivory Coast also extended their perfect start by seeing off Gabon 1-0.

Seko Fofana’s curling strike nine minutes before the break put the Elephants three points clear at the top of Group F in what was the West Africans’ first competitive outing since being crowned continental champions in February.

Meanwhile, Nigeria remain without a victory following their 1-1 draw with South Africa – a result which leaves Lesotho top of Group C after the minnows registered an upset over Zimbabwe earlier on Friday.

Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda all recorded victories to move level on points at the summit of their respective groups.

The third round of matches finishes with two games on Saturday, with the fourth set of fixtures taking place on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Each of the nine African qualifying group winners are guaranteed a place at the 2026 World Cup finals, and the four best-placed runners-up will play off for a spot at an intercontinental tournament where the final two berths in the United States, Mexico and Canada will be decided.