Ten-man Benin upset Morocco
Cebio Soukou of Benin is challenged by Mbark Boussoufa of Morocco during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals last 16 match between Morocco and Benin at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 05 July 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Friday Jul 05, 2019. 21:24
Benin defeated Morocco 4-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Round of 16 match at the Al Salam Stadium in Egypt on Friday night.
As a result, the Squirrels progress to the quarter-finals, while the Atlas Lions crash out of the competition.
The Atlas Lions pressed the Squirrels from the start with and they nearly grabbed an early goal through Youssef En-Nesyri.
The Spain-based striker’s header was well-saved by Benin goalkeeper Owolabi Saturnin Allagbe six minutes into the encounter.
Benin grew into the match and they had a chance to break the deadlock seven minutes before the half-hour mark.
However, Morocco keeper Youssouf Bounou was well-positioned to deny Benin midfielder Mickael Pote, who has netted twice in the tournament.
The Atlas Lions then took control of the match, but Allagbe was having a good match as he made a good save to deny Hakim Ziyech.
Benin then stood firm at the back and the score was 0-0 t the interval.
The Squirrels continued to frustrate the Atlas Lions after the restart and they took a surprise lead through Moise Adilehou.
The Greece-based defender scored with a right-footed shot which beat Bounou to make it 1-0 to Benin eight minutes after the restart.
Morocco head coach Herve Renard reacted by introducing Soufal Boufal, who is on the books of English side Southampton FC.
The Atlas Lions piled pressure on the Benin defence and they managed to grab a late equalizing goal following a mistake by Jordan Adeoti.
The France-based midfielder lost possession to Mbark Boussoufa, who then set-up En-Neysri and the striker beat Allagbe with a low shot to make it 1-1 with 15 minutes left.
The momentum was with the Atlas Lions and they were awarded a late penalty after Achraf Hakimi fouled by Stephane Sessegnon in stoppage time.
Ajax Amsterdam playmaker Ziyech stepped up and he hit the upright and the encounter ended in a 1-1 draw in regulation time and extra-time followed.
Benin suffered a blow six minutes into the first-half of extra-time as they were reduced to 10 players after Abdou Khaled Adenon was sent off after receiving his second yellow card.
However, Michel Dussuyer’s charges stood firm at the back and ultimately, the match ended in a 1-1 draw and a penalty shootout followed.
Benin went on to win 4-1 on penalties with Allagbe denying En-Nesyri from the spot-kick.
Morocco (0) 1 (En-Nesyri75′)
Benin (0) 1 (Adilehou 53′)
Morocco: Bounou, Dirar (Mazraoui 74′), Da Costa, Saiss, Hakimi, El Ahmadi (Fajr 107′), Boussoufa, Amrabat (Idrissi 88′), Belhanda (Boufal 59′), Ziyech, En-Nesyri.
Benin: Allagbe, Adilehou, Adénon, Verdon, Imorou, Adeoti, Mama, Sessegnon, Dossou (Tidjani 86′), Soukou (Djigla 69′), Pote (D’Almeida 108′).