Mali Struggles in World Cup Play
Two-time World Cup quarterfinalist Mexico all but guaranteed itself a spot in the semifinal round of CONCACAF’s qualifying tournament, while Mali struggled again in the African competition.
Mexico crushed Dominica 10-0 with two goals each from Adolfo Bautista, Jared Borgetti and Daniel Osorno.
Mali, which reached the African Cup of Nations semifinals at the last two tournaments, needed an 80th-minute equalizer from Freddie Kanoute to hold Zambia to a 1-1 draw.
In the CONCACAF competition, both St. Kitts and Nevis and Honduras advanced to the semifinals. St. Kitts edged Barbados 3-2 and 5-2 on aggregate, while Honduras topped the Netherlands Antilles 4-0 and 6-1 on aggregate.
Three CONCACAF teams will qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals, with a fourth team playing an Asian team in a playoff for another spot.
In other African matches, Rwanda, Botswana and Cape Verde Islands all got wins. African Cup finals participant Rwanda easily handled Gabon 3-1, Botswana topped Malawi 2-0 and Cape Verde edged Uganda 1-0.
Only the five African group winners will qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
In San Antonio, Texas, Francisco Palencia set up two goals and scored another for Mexico, which got five goals in each half. Rafael Marquez, Jaime Lozano and Duilio Davino also scored.
The game was played in the Alamodome because Dominica does not have a place to host the match.
Dominica, which beat the Bahamas in the first qualifying round, was held without a shot on goal in the first half and finished the game with only two shots.
In Bamako, Mali, Harry Milanzi scored the opening goal as Zambia moved into first place in Group One with four points. Mali, which lost to Liberia 1-0 two weeks ago, now has one point.
In Kigali, Rwanda, Saidi Abedi scored two goals and Jimmy Mulisa added the other as Rwanda beat Gabon 3-1 in Group Four.
In Gaborone, Botswana, Dipsy Selolwane scored his second qualifying goal in two matches as Botswana edged Malawi 2-0 in group five.
Nelson Gabolwelwe also scored for second-place Botswana, which trails only African Cup champion Tunisia.
In Praia, Cape Verde Islands, Cafu scored the lone goal in the 41st minute.
In Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, Calum Willock scored two goals as St. Kitts and Nevis beat Barbados 5-2 on aggregate.
Daryl Gomez also scored for St. Kitts. Kenroy Skinner and Kent Hall had goals for Barbados.
In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Amado Guevara scored the winning goal as Honduras beat the Netherlands Antilles 6-1 on aggregate.