The "Squirrels" have achieved the greatest feat in the history of football Benin, July 5 in Cairo, in the round of 16 of the African Cup of Nations. The Beninese eliminated ultra-favorite Moroccans on penalties (4-1, 1-1 after extra time). They will face the winner of Senegal-Uganda on July 10 in Cairo.
From our special envoy in Cairo,
July 5, 2019 will forever be engraved in the history of Beninese sport. It was that evening that the "Squirrels" really settled at the table of the great African football. They ejected in the round of 16 CAN 2019 Moroccans who were nevertheless part of the favorites of the African Cup of Nations.
Moroccans too static
At the kickoff, the Moroccans are deprived of their captain, the defender Mehdi Benatia (package), while the striker Steve Mounié (suspended) logically lacks the call side Benin. Michel Dussuyer, the coach of the "Squirrels", once again sharply renewed his starting lineup. His motto: close the ranks.
And it works in the first period. To the point of exasperating Hervé Renard, the opposing coach, who blames his attackers, Nordin Amrabat in the lead. His team does not succeed in taking speed Benin squad certainly very clumsy in his rare counterattacks but very supportive and well grouped in defense. Only Hakim Ziyech is doing well with a few passes, shots (11th minute, 28th), free kicks (35th) that put pressure on goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe, replacing a wounded Fabien Farnolle.
Moses Adilehou shows the way
In the second period, the Maghreb are quickly punished for their mistakes. In the 54th minute, on a corner from the right, Moïse Adilehou is left a little too alone at the penalty spot. The defender takes the ball from the flat of the right foot: 0-1. Yassine Bounou, the Moroccan goalkeeper, remained nailed on his line can only see the damage.
Towards the hour of play, Sofiane Boufal enters instead of Younès Belhanda to boost the game of the selection of Morocco. After a few seconds, the small attacking midfielder stands out with an overflow and, just after, a stung head (60 '). The Marc-Vivien Foé Prize 2016 then tries a surprise shot, from a closed angle. But Allagbe watches (68th).
The fatigue of Beninois, allied with Moroccans
Time passes and fatigue comes catching Beninese who played their last match three days earlier. Midfielder Jordan Adeoti, not lucid enough, tries a risky dribble in front of his penalty area and Mbark Boussoufa. The latter grabbed the ball and slipped it to Youssef En-Nesyri. The center-forward, so awkward until then, finally marks: 1-1, 76th.
The following ? A mush of football. West Africans struggle with the last energy. Ziyech has several opportunities to make the difference, as on this free kick boxed by Allagbe (86th). But it was visibly written that the resident of Ajax Amsterdam would not be the hero of the evening. During the playoffs, the number 7 spoils the penalty of the victory, obtained by Achraf Hakimi, by sending the ball on the left amount of Benin: 1-1 at the end of the regulation time ...
Khaled Adenon fizzes
The prolongations are only a long suffering for the Beninese. Especially for Khaled Adenon. The defender receives a second yellow card, for non-compliance with the instructions of the very severe referee Helder Martins Rodrigues De Carvalho, and sees red (97th). He refuses for a few minutes to leave the field before attacking Hervé Renard and his assistant, Patrice Beaumelle.
The fate of the game is played on penalties. During this unbreathable session, Sofiane Boufal pulled over the frame and En-Nesyri's attempt was deflected on the crossbar. Benin still has not won any match in the finals of the African Cup of Nations. But he just won the respect of the continent.
READ ► CAN 2019: Calendar, results and standings of the Africa Cup
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