Gabon seal late win over Kenya in dramatic World Cup 2026 qualifier


Gabon on Thursday came from behind to stun Kenya’s Harambee Stars 2-1 in the World Cup 2026 qualifier played at Stade De la Renovation in Franceville.

Masud Juma provided Kenya with a 1-0 halftime advantage, seizing an opportunity created by a defensive error and miscommunication between Gabon’s goalkeeper, Junior Noubi, and a defender.

Juma headed home into an empty net from a long-range cross by Amos Nondi in the 40th minute, offering Kenya hope as they entered the break with a lead.

However, their lead proved fragile in the second half when Johnstone Omurwa failed to clear a long-range pass from Gabon’s defense.

Denis Bouanga capitalized on this mistake, leveling the scores in the 60th minute by lobbing the ball past the charging Patrick Matasi in Kenya’s goal.

Despite Kenya’s attempts to regain the lead through bleak counter-attacks, it was the hosts who ultimately emerged victorious.

Guelor Kanga struck a spectacular 20-yard shot past the helpless Matasi in the 88th minute, securing the win for Gabon.

In Group F of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Gabon are alongside tough opponents such as Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Gambia, Burundi, and Seychelles.

Meanwhile, in a thrilling five-goal encounter at Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Tanzania, Burundi claimed the top spot in the group by edging out Gambia 3-2.

Abedi Bigirimana and Frederic Nsabiyumva gave Burundi a 2-0 lead before Musa Barrow pulled one back for Gambia just before halftime.

Despite Abdallah Sudi restoring Burundi’s two-goal lead in the 75th minute, a late Ebrima Colley penalty in stoppage time couldn’t salvage a comeback for Gambia, as Burundi held on to secure a 3-2 victory.

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