Liverpool star Mohamed Salah helped Egypt to a 3-0 World Cup qualifying triumph over closest rivals Libya on Monday that puts them on the brink of winning Group F and reaching the final elimination round.
The two-time African Footballer of the Year was a constant threat in Benghazi as the Pharaohs completed a double over the Mediterranean Knights having won 1-0 in Alexandria three days ago.
Ahmed el Fotouh broke the deadlock on 40 minutes, Mostafa Mohamed added a second goal in first-half added time and substitute Ramadan Sobhi netted after 72 minutes.
Egypt have 10 points, four more than second-place Libya, after four rounds and need one win from fixtures against Angola and Gabon in November to be sure of making the play-offs.
The 10 group winners will be split into five pairings, and the winners of the two-legged ties in March will represent Africa at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In Group D, Ivory Coast retained a one-point advantage over Cameroon in what is widely regarded as the toughest of the 10 mini-leagues with the two nations boasting 10 World Cup appearances between them.
Ivory Coast edged Malawi 2-1 in Cotonou and Cameroon pipped Mozambique 1-0 in Tangier to turn the section into a two-team race to finish first. The qualifiers were played in Benin and Morocco because hosts Ivory Coast and Mozambique lack international-standard stadiums.
Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe gave three-time World Cup participants Ivory Coast a great start by scoring within two minutes as he punished a defensive mix-up. Malawi levelled on 20 minutes through Khuda Muyaba, who rifled a low shot from outside the box past Sylvain Gbohouo into the corner of the net.