The Central African Republic (CAR) and Cape Verde played to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the CAF second round 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers at Stade de la Réunification in Douala on Wednesday.
The match took place on neutral ground in Cameroon due to on-going unrest in areas surrounding Bangui.
In the pouring rain, Cape Verde's dangerous attacking threat was nullified to an extent and the wet conditions suited the home team, but the visitors opened the scoring with 36 minutes on the clock following a sustained spell of pressure.
Julio Tavares, who now plays his club football in Saudi Arabia, with the first goal of the group-stage qualifiers for Qatar 2022 on the African continent.
To their credit, CAR defended brilliantly, led by captain Saint-Cyr Ngam Ngam who was playing out of position on the left side of defence, while goalkeeper Prince Samolah made a string of impressive saves throughout the encounter.
Their efforts didn't go unrewarded as Trésor Toropité fired home the equaliser seven minutes into the second half to earn the hosts a point.
Next up for CAR is a trip to Monrovia to take on Liberia while the Blue Sharks will host Group C favourites Nigeria in Mindelo on Tuesday.
Central African Republic (0) 1 (Toropite 52') Cape Verde (1) 1 (J. Taveres 36') Central African Republic:
Cape Verde (1) 1 (J. Taveres 36')
Central African Republic:Samolah; Ngam-Ngam, Ndobe, Ndokomandji, Yangao, Guinari, Toropite (Zarambaud 81'), Urie (Gaopandia 63'), Niamathe, Kpeko (Tattevin 46'), Vonde Ze (Mokonou 70')
Cape Verde:Vozinha; Stopira, Lopes, S.Furtado (C.Tavares 75'), Ponck, D.Tavares, Andrade, W.Furtado (Rodrigues 67'), Rocha Santos (Monteiro 75'), Mendes, J. Tavares (Vagner 88').