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Benin 0-1 Nigeria: AFCON qualifying Group L result, summary

William Allen

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Benin vs Nigeria live online: AFCON qualifying Group L

Benin 0-1 Nigeria: AFCON qualifying as it happened

FT

Peeep peeep peeeep!

Heartbreak for Benin, who were seconds away from getting the point they needed to book their spot at next year's Africa Cup of Nations.

Substitute Paul Onuachu's 94th-minute winner means that Nigeria, who had already qualified after Lesotho and Sierra Leone's draw earlier in the day, go through to the finals in Cameroon as winners of Group L.

That's Benin's first home defeat since all the way back in June 2013.

Despite the blow of having qualification snatched from their grasp today, though, Michel Dussuyer's men remain very well placed indeed to reach the finals: they will still finish second in the group as long as they avoid defeat when they face Sierra Leone in Freetown on Tuesday.

That's all from me - thanks for reading!

94

Nigeria have won it! Unbelievable!

Chukwueze sends in the corner from the left, Troost-Ekong rising the highest to get his head on it. His effort is blocked only as far as Osimhen, whose shot is parried by Allagbe.

However, substitute Onuachu is there to head the loose ball into the back of the net!

91

Three minutes of time added on.

90

Just as I say that, Nigeria go up the other end and twice go close to heading in. First, Osimhen nods just past Allagbe's left-hand post, via a deflection. From the resulting corner, it's headed from within a crowd of bodies just past the same upright - on first sight it was not clear by whom.

88

Benin win a corner-kick, which Adeoti will deliver from the right. Can the hosts snatch a late winner to  leapfrog Nigeria at the top spot in Group L?

No. Nigeria clear. With two minutes to go, this game looks to be drifting to a goalless draw - a result which also suits the hosts, of course.

84

Nigeria make their their third substitution, withdrawing Aina for Chidozie Awaziem.

83

Osimhen heads a high ball on for Onuachu to chase into the box, but he succeeds only in bundling over Hountondji and Benin have a free-kick.

81

Nigeria also make another substitution, introducing Anayo Iwuala in place of Onyekuru.

80

Benin make their third change, replacing Dossou with Marcellin Koukpo.

78

D'Almeida is booked for pulling Aribo back. The referee was all of three yards away, and it was the most ill-concealed tug of the shirt you're every likely to see.

75

There's a shooting chance for Aribo, but he blasts well over! A free-kick from the left was touched back to the midfielder by Ndidi, but his strike from 20 yards out was rising into orbit from the moment it left his boot.

74

Benin make their second substitution of the game, bringing on Mickael Poté for Cebio Soukou.

73

Benin almost get Dossou in on Okoye, but the Nigeria keeper is quickly off his line to claim the bouncing ball before the forward.

A minute later, Dossou cuts in from the left and feeds Mounié at the top of the box... but the striker miscontrols and the chance is lost.

Still, it's been a much more incisive attacking performance from the hosts since the break.

70

Nigeria make their first change of the game, Iheanacho making way for Paul Onuachu.

67

Oh dear. Nigeria work it neatly to Sanusi to charge into acres of space on the left-hand edge of the box... but, with at least two green and white shirts waiting for the pull-back, he scuffs his pass. An opportunity spurned.

63

Okoye saves again! Benin have looked much more dangerous in the opening stages of the second half.

Assogba gets to the byline on the right and crosses to the near post, where Mounié rises highest to send a header towards Okoye's left-hand corner, but the keeper scrambles across his goal to get a hand to it!

60

Nigeria's Balogun is down and in need of some treatment after seemingly being caught by Adeoti's studs in a 50-50 challenge. He'll be OK, it appears.

57

It's all happening now.

At one end, there are shouts for a goal when a Benin free-kick into the box is headed back towards his own net by Troost-Ekong, keeper Okoye grabbing hold of the looping ball just - just - before it drops over the line.

At the other end, Osimhen runs at a back-pedalling Beninese defence and shoots low from the right-hand corner of the box... but sees his strike rebound off the far post! Sanusi is following up, but sends the rebound well over!

54

Back come Nigeria, Osimhen working a yard or two of space to shoot from the egde of the box, but firing just over.

Benin boss Michel Dussuyer is clearly pleased with the start his charges have made; he's seen yelling encouragement from the touchline.

52

That's the closest Benin have come! Okoye and Troost-Ekong fail to come to an agreement on who will deal with what, in truth, is just a punt forward over the top.

As the Nigerians dally, Mounié nips in to get there first and turn the ball over Okoye and towards goal... but it drops just wide!

Moments later, another opportunity falls to Mounié, the former Huddersfield Town man heading over at the back post.

50

Kiki picks up the first yellow card of the match for a somewhat robust challenge on Chukwueze. The Villarreal man needs a little bit of attention, but looks like he'll be fine. A nasty tackle from Kiki.

48

Close from Chukwueze! The winger feeds the ball low into the area for Osimhen, who can't bring the ball under his spell. However, it falls back to Chukwueze, who blasts over from 10 yards out!

Benin have made a half-time substitution, replacing Yohan Roche with Moise Adilehou.

Peeeeeep! We're back up and running at the Stade Charles de Gaulle.

HT

Peep peeep peeeep! That's half time in Porto-Novo. Nigeria have created pretty everything in the way of chances and should probably be ahead by now, but it remains goalless.

As things stand, Benin will be joining the Nigerians at the Africa Cup of Nations.

45

What a save! That's the best chance we've had so far. Sanusi scampers to the byline and fizzes in a cross that is right on Onyekuru's head. He gets a firm connection six yards out, but Allagbe shows marvellous reflexes to turn it over!

42

Mounié bursts across the halfway line and slips a through ball for Dossou to chase, but Troost-Ekong is well placed to mop the ball up before the Clermont forward can get on the end of it.

39

Kiki plays the ball in behind Aina for Soukou to chase, but Nigeria get it clear. Back come the hosts, and there are shouts for a free-kick when Mounié is dispossessed as he tries to spin and shoot on the edge of the box, but the referee says there's nothing doing.

Better from Benin, though.

34

There's a chance for Iheanacho! Onyekuru pulls a high ball down on the left-hand corner of the area and lays it back to the Leicester striker, who's got space to shoot from the top of the box - but his effort is deflected wide!

The corner comes to nought. Given the form he's in, you'd have put the proverbial house on Iheanacho putting that opportunity away, or at least testing Allagbe.

32

Aina's right-wing throw-in into the box is flicked on by Osimhen, but it sails harmlessly into Allagbe's arms.

The game at the Stade Charles de Gaulle is not the quickest-paced of encounters.

Photos from Porto-Novo, via Nigeria's social-media team

24

Onyekuru slips a neat ball into Zaidu on the left, but the Porto full-back can't wriggle himself into crossing space and has to settle for winning a corner off Dossou.

Chukwueze delivery is long to the back of the box, where it's eventually worked to Onyekuru to shoot - but he blazes well over!

Moments later, Osimhen has a great chance to test Allagbe, but fires his effort right at the keeper!

21

Aina is penalised for handball on the right, and Benin have another opportunity to test the visiting defence from a set piece... but Soukou's delivery is straight down Okoye's gullet. A waste.

Shortly afterwards, Mounié has the first shooting chance for the hosts, but sends his effort wide!

18

Assogba dinks a ball over the top and into the Nigera box for Dossou to chase, but Super Eagles goalkeeper Okoye is quickly off his line to grab hold.

16

Aribo wins a corner for Nigeria that Chukwueze will take. However, the Villarreal winger's delivery is an easy take for Allagbe.

13

Benin look to get Dossou running at the Nigeria defence on the right wing, but he treads on the ball and it trickles out for a throw-in.

Nigeria have carried all the forward threat so far.

8

Again Nigeria let fly at goal! Iheanacho digs out a shot from about 25 yards that Allagbe tips over with relative ease.

Allagbe has kept a clean sheet in both of his appearances in AFCON qualifying Group L, by the way.

6

There's the first clear shooting chance! It falls to Victor Osimhen, who was on target the last time the sides met. A slide-rule through ball releases the forward in behind the Benin defence and into the area, but he drags his shot across goal and wide from a fairly acute angle.

4

A long throw-in from the left drops onto the head of Aribo at the near post, but he heads down and wide from close range. The Nigerian had a gaggle of yellow shirts surrounding him, to be fair to him.

2

Nigeria get Onyekuru scuttling down the left wing at pace, but he's dispossessed by Roche.

Moments later, Benin get their first chance to swing the ball into the middle when they earn a free-kick on the right-hand side. Soukou clips the ball into the middle, but it's headed over.

Peeeep! We're underway in Porto-Novo!

CAN 2022

Benin vs Nigeria: how and where to watch - times, TV, online

If you're wondering how you can tune into today's game on the telly, you may wish to take a look at our guide on how and where to watch.

How and where to watch Benin vs Nigeria

Iheanacho

In-form Iheanacho up top for Nigeria

It’s no surprise to see Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho start for Nigeria today - he’s in absolutely blistering run of scoring form for the Foxes at the moment.

Iheanacho, who wins his 24th cap in Porto-Novo, has had a wonderful time of it in March, banging in seven goals in his last four appearances for Brendan Rodgers’ side.

(Photo: Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)

What the coaches said: Gernot Rohr, Nigeria

Ending Group L "on a positive note":

“We want to finish our qualification on a positive note, and the two matches against Benin and Lesotho are very important. Of course, we know that Benin is difficult to beat after our last game in Uyo [which Nigeria won 2-1 in October 2019] and we need at least a point against them to qualify for next year’s AFCON.”

Captain Musa a non-playing member of the squad:

“Musa is our captain, and he is a part of the team though he won’t play because he has not been active.”

(Quotes via CAFonline.com)

What the coaches said: Michel Dussuyer, Benin

Out for win over Nigeria - a victory that would be only their third in 16 meetings with the Super Eagles:

"On Saturday, our ambition is to win. It will not be an easy task, but we have hopes.”

Skipper Sessegnon part of the squad, but unable to play:

"Stéphane Sessegnon is selected as a special guest. He is not on the list of 23. He is called for his leadership and will participate in training sessions."

(Quotes via CAFonline.com)

Form guide: Benin unbeatable at home

While Nigeria haven’t won in four, Benin haven’t lost in four - and have won their last seven games at home in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, stretching back to 2015.

And as mentioned earlier, the Squirrels are on a near eight-year unbeaten run on home turf in all competitions: their last defeat in Benin came against Algeria, in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, way back in June 2013.

Form guide: Nigeria four game without a win

Nigeria may have booked their ticket to the Africa Cup of Nations, but they come into today’s clash against Benin on the back of a slightly wobbly run of form.

The Super Eagles haven’t haven’t won in four: after a defeat to Tunisia and a draw with Algeria in October friendlies, they were twice held by Sierra Leone in an AFCON qualifying double-header in November.

Those two stalemates included a 4-4 draw in Benin City that saw Gernot Rohr’s men race into a four-goal after half an hour, before succumbing to an incredible late comeback.

Nigeria team news

Starting line-up: Okoye, Sanusi, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Aina, Aribo, Ndidi, Onyekuru, Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Osimhen

Benin team news

Starting line-up: Allagbe, Assgba, Adenon, Hountondji, Kiki, Roche, Sebio, Sessi, Adeoti, Jodel, Mounié

Group L table

Benin vs Nigeria live coverage: preamble

Good afternoon! Group L leaders Nigeria take on second-placed Benin knowing that they are now assured of a berth at next January’s rescheduled Africa Cup of Nations, after Lesotho and Sierra Leone drew in the section's other matchday-five qualifier this afternoon.

The goalless stalemate in Maseru means neither Lesotho nor Sierra Leone can catch the three-time African champions - who will guarantee top spot in the group if they now beat Benin. To do so, however, they will need to bring an end to the their hosts' nearly eight-year-long unbeaten home.

Meanwhile, the draw between Lesotho and Sierra Leone leaves Benin needing a point to secure their place at the Africa Cup of Nations for only the fifth time in their history.

Both Benin and Nigeria's squad selections have been affected by foreign-based players being unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the two sides’ captains are both limited to non-playing roles during this international week.

Benin skipper Stéphane Sessegnon is unfit to play as he has been without a club since leaving Turkish side Genclerbirligi in the summer, while his Nigerian counterpart, Ahmed Musa, is in the same boat: he has been inactive since October, when he parted company with Saudis Al Nassr.

(Image: SofaScore)

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