Ethiopia's Adane Girma celebrates his goal during their African Nations Cup (AFCON 2013) Group C soccer match against Zambia in Nelspruit, January 21, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Ethiopia will look to clinch the top spot in Group A when it faces off against Central African Republic on Saturday.
The top team in each group of CAF qualifiers clinches a berth in the third round of the tournament. In that stage, each group winner will be drawn into a two-legged playoff with another group winner with a berth at the World Cup finals at stake.
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Ethiopia currently holds a two point lead in the group, but a victory is essential if it hopes to move on to the next round. Second place South Africa has eight points and qualify with a win over Botswana coupled with an Ethiopian loss to Central African Republic. A draw would likely do nothing for Ethiopia; South Africa currently has a +4 goal differential and would essentially tie Ethiopia with a win in points and win the goal differential tie breaker.
Ethiopia started its runs with a 1-1 draw against South Africa. In its second game, Ethiopia beat Botswana 1-0 before defeating the same nation 2-1. However, FIFA ruled that there was some foul play from Ethiopia and gifted Botswana with a 3-0 win instead. In its most recent game, Ethiopia took down South Africa 2-1.
Central African Republic is already eliminated from contention after only acquiring three points in five games. They have scored four goals, but have conceded 10 in that span and will likely be playing for pride on Saturday.
Prediction: Ethiopia has a lot at stake and should put up a big fight. Expect a 1-0 win from the Ethiopians.
Start Time: 9:30 a.m. EST
The match will not be live streamed in the USA.