Mario Lemina’s sensational goal helped Gabon keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive.

The £16m Saints midfielder struck the winner in a 2-1 win away to Ivory Coast - just a few days after losing 3-0 at home to the same opponents.

Lemina provided the decisive moment for the Panthers, with a stunning 25-yard strike across goal that found the far corner in the 29th minute.

The goal followed Axel Meye’s 19th-minute effort, and, although Ivory Coast pulled one back just before the hour mark through Maxwell Cornet, the visitors held on.

The result means Gabon stay third in Group C of the African qualifying section, but they are now just two points behind Ivory Coast, ahead of their final two games - away to Morocco and home to Mali.

l Dusan Tadic got the better of his Saints colleague Shane Long in Dublin last night.

Aleksandar Kolarov wrecked the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup dream as 10-man Serbia eased themselves to the brink of qualification on a controversial night in Dublin.

Kolarov’s 55th-minute piledriver secured a precious 1-0 win at the Aviva Stadium and guaranteed his side a top-two finish in Group D despite defender Nikola Maksimovic’s 68th-minute red card.

But Ireland were furious not to be awarded a penalty for Jagos Vukovic’s challenge on substitute Daryl Murphy six minutes later.

Martin O’Neill’s misery was compounded by Wales’ 2-0 victory in Moldova, which means the Republic now sit third in the group with just two games to play and with key men Robbie Brady and James McClean suspended for the Moldovans’ visit to the Aviva next month.

l Demarai Gray and Tammy Abraham responded to their recalls to the England U21 starting XI by inspiring a 3-0 defeat of Latvia at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

They each scored as England earned the first win of their latest qualifying campaign. Brighton’s Kasey Palmer added the third in the second half.