Benin took a step closer to a first ever appearance at the final tournament of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) thanks to a lone goal victory over neighbours Nigeria on Sunday in Cotonou.
Captain Mama Seibou, who plays for ASPAC, scored the only on 87 minutes, converting a penalty to give the Beninois a first leg advantage.
Since its inception in 2009, ‘Les Ecureils’ has yet to qualify for the final tournament and that aspiration will face a litmus test in the return leg on Saturday, 19 August 2017 in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
Nigeria has qualified for the last two editions of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues, finishing third in 2014 (South Africa) and failing to go past the group stage in 2016 (Rwanda).
Elsewhere in Niamey, Niger also left it late to beat Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 also in the West B Zone. Seyni Imrana gave ‘Mena’ the lead on 41 minutes before Fabius Dosso leveled for the visiting Ivorians two minutes before break.
On 85 minutes, striker Halidou Idrissa struck the match winner to give Francois Zahoui’s side a slim advantage ahead of the return leg on Saturday, 19 August 2017 in Abidjan.
In the South Zone, Comoros accounted for Namibia 2-1 in Moroni. ‘Les Coelecantes’ led by two goals at the interval courtesy strikes from Faouz Ali Attoumane and Ali Simba, but Hendrik Somaeb pulled one back for Namibia on 71 minutes.
In Antananarivo, surprise packets Madagascar were held to a barren draw by visiting Angola.
Morocco came from behind to hold debutants Egypt to a 1-1 draw in Alexandria. The Pharaohs depleted by the absence of key players from notables clubs such as Al Ahly, Zamalek and El Masry survived several onslaughts from the Moroccans who missed a second half penalty after Abdelilah Hafidi was denied Mohamed Awad.
Makassa midfielder Ahmed Sayed powered the Pharaohs into the lead from the spot after only three minutes, with Badr Benoun drawing parity seven minutes after the break with a header.
11.08.2017 Brazzaville Congo 0-0 DR Congo
12.08.2017 Malabo Equatorial Guinea vs Gabon
12.08.2017 Sao Tome Sao Tome 0-2 Cameroon
12.08.2017 Kampala Uganda 3-0 Rwanda
13.08.2017 Hawassa Ethiopia 1-1 Sudan
12.08.2017 Constantine Algeria 1-2 Libya
13.08.2017 Alexandria Egypt 1-1 Morocco
12.08.2017 East London South Africa 2-2 Zambia
13.08.2017 Antananarivo Madagascar 0-0 Angola
13.08.2017 Moroni Comoros 2-1 Namibia
West A Zone
12.08.2017 Nouakchott Mauritania 2-2 Mali
15.08.2017 Pikine Senegal vs Guinea
West B Zone
12.08.2017 Ouagadougou Burkina Faso 2-2 Ghana
13.08.2017 Cotonou Benin 1-0 Nigeria
13.08.2017 Niamey Niger 2-1 Cote d’Ivoire