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Ravelson shines as Madagascar defeat Comoros 2-1

Rayon Ravelson grabbed a double as Madagascar won 2-1 in their island derby over the Comoros at Soccer City in Johannesburg on Friday to make it two wins out of three in World Cup qualifying Group I.

Madagascar now have six points to join the Comoros, who had won both their opening qualifiers in November, and Ghana at the top of the standings in the battle for a place at the 2026 finals in North America.

Ravelson is one of Madagascar’s most popular footballers and his hero status will have shot up considerably with his exploits in a cold Johannesburg, where Madagascar have had to move their two qualifiers this month.

They will be hosting Mali at 2010 World Cup final venue on Monday.

Friday’s match could not have started better for the Malagasy, who were ahead after 90 seconds with a goal they made from a high press and catching out a sloppy Comorian defence.

Centre back Kassim Mdahoma’s pass to partner Rafidine Abdallah was too strong and offered the opportunity for Loic Lapoussin to steal away the ball, playing a quick one-two with midfielder Clement Coutirier, before putting through an inch-perfect pass for Rayan Ravelson to expertly tuck the ball away to the left of Comoros’ goalkeeper Ben Salim Bouna.

The goal handed confidence to Madagascar for the early stages of the first half, but they lost Hakim Abdallah to injury after 18 minutes following a heavy collision with Abdallah.

At the end of the half, Comoros had two opportunities within the space of two minutes to equalise. First Myziane Maolida miskicked from close in and then immediately thereafter Faiz Selemani’s expert pass had Benjaloud Youssouf in with a chance right in front of goal, but he was thwarted by solid defending from Thomas Fontaine.

Comoros came out of the break strongly and immediately created another opportunity for Maolida, who this time got a good boot onto an angled effort but saw it saved by Sonny Laiton, the former France under-20 goalkeeper who has switched footballing nationality and was playing a first competitive international for Madagascar.

Ravelson scored his second goal midway through the second half, with some help from Comoros goalkeeper Boina, who failed to hold onto a long range shot from Malagasy substitute Tendry Mataniah and Ravelson was quickest to the rebound, hitting his initial effort against the upright before picking up the loose ball, turning around and planting into the net.

Coutirier cleared off the line for Madagascar in the 77th minute after Laiton had failed to catch a Comorian cross and handed the opposition a golden opportunity.

Their intense pressure towards the end of the game saw the Coelacanths pull one back through substitute El Fardou Ben Naboiuhane, with virtually the last kick of the game, but it came far too late to salvage a point

Comoros must now travel to Morocco where they take on Chad in Oudja on Tuesday. Chad’s home game is also being played in a neutral venue.



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