By Francisco Salazar | First Posted: Jun 16, 2013 02:13 AM EDT
An Ethiopia soccer fan holds up his country's scarf ahead of their African Nations Cup (AFCON 2013) Group C soccer match against Burkina Faso in Nelspruit, January 25, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Ethiopia and South Africa will fight for the top spot in Group A when they face off in the World Cup qualifiers on Sunday.
With Central Africa Republic and Botswana already eliminated from qualified, South Africa and Ethiopia have a chance to decide which team will qualify for the third round. The group winner will take on another African group winner in a two-legged playoff for a chance to earn a berth at the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer.
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Ethiopia currently holds the lead in the group with 10 points in four matches. South Africa trails them but just two points with eight points in their first four games. If Ethiopia defeats Bafana Bafana, they will clinch their spot in the third round as Africa would trail them by five points with one game to go. A loss would give South Africa the group lead while a draw would preserve the current two point difference.
The two teams faced off in their opening match of the campaign on June 2, 2012; they battled to a 1-1 draw. Since then Ethiopia has managed three straight wins while South Africa has won twice and drawn once. South Africa is coming off two straight victories against Central African Republic by a combined score 5-0; they have only scored two goals against the other two teams in the group. Meanwhile Ethiopia has managed to score six times in four games. Both sides have only conceded twice.
Prediction: Ethiopia holds home field advantage where they have won twice thus far. Look for them to defeat South Africa 1-0 and clinch a third round berth.
Start Time: Kick off starts at 9 AM Eastern Standard Time.
TV Info: The match will not be transmitted on television in North America.