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Mozambique come from behind to earn draw

January 12, 2010

Mozambique's Dario Khan (right) scored the second for Benin - eurosport

Mozambique 2 Benin 2

Complexo de Sr. Da Garca, Benguela

African Cup of Nations Group C

January 12 2010

Group C underdogs Mozambique and Benin played out an error-strewn but entertaining 90 minutes of football, deservedly earning a point apiece.

Benin started by far the better of the sides, as Razak Otomoyossi and Mouritala Ogunbiyi, who both ply their trade in France, exposed a shaky Mozambique side down both flank. The Squirrels were intent on unleashing a barrage of shots on the Mozambique goal, and got their reward after 12 minutes when Mickaël Poté’s speculative header put Otomoyossi through on goal. Goalkeeper Rafael brought him down and Sudanese referee Abdel Rahman Khalid awarded a penalty – fortunately, as Ogunbiyi missed a sitter immediately after his striker partner was brought down.

Otomoyossi lashed the ball down the middle and Benin led. Things swiftly got even better when, eight minutes later, neat down the left between Ogunbiyi and Jocelyn Ahouéya led to Dario Khan hooking the ball into his own net after the ball had eventually reached the six-yard box.

Benin, who had failed to earn a point in their only previous African Nations excursions in 2004 and 2008, were happy to keep three up front; Otomoyossi and Ogunbiyi regularly helped by Poté when the Squirrels had the ball.

But the latest act in a tournament rarely blessed with quality goalkeeping was soon to come on the half-hour. Mozambique earned a corner, which Benin keeper Yoann Djidonou failed to claim. Lobo had to direct his header past four defenders, but did so comfortably and The Mamba had a goal back.

Benin's Stéphane Sessegnon was impressive throughout - eurosport

Otomoyossi continued to work hard down the flanks for Benin, who benefited from the passing of Paris St. Germain’s Stéphane Sessegnon in midfield. At the other end Mozambique regularly hit balls left and had mixed results against right-back Félicien Singbo. The game was opening up and The Mamba sensed an equaliser, but the half-time whistle stopped them in their tracks.

They got their goal soon after the break, albeit in bizarre circumstances. Djidonou cleared a routine punt forward well into touch, only for Mozambique to Carlos Fumo to scoop the ball home after a quick throw-in using a nearby ball found him in the area. Benin did have a chance to clear it but, with their ‘keeper understandably surprised and nowhere near the action, The Mamba struck; manager Mart Nooij was so delighted he lost his balance and slipped over, emerging with a smile on his face.

The game was the most open of the tournament’s opening few, and pleasingly there was little playacting, despite some tough challenges. Veteran Mozambique striker Tico-Tico had a chance to win it for his team but a great save from Djidonou tipped the ball onto the post.

Benin promptly launched the ball forward and Sessegnon, who increasingly became the team’s focal point during the second half, almost scored with a decent header. It was the last good chance of the game – though Mozambique ‘keeper Rafael nearly made sure that it was not: coming to claim an easy ball with a few minutes to go, he flipped forward, landed on his head and dropped the ball behind him. Thankfully for him, and Mozambique, he regained his composure and grasped the ball before a bewildered forward realised it was there, thus avoiding writing added a new chapter in the annals of African Nations goalkeeping.

The result will satisfy Nigeria more than either side; the Super Eagles lie only a point behind the two going into Saturday’s Group C fixtures.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Guy Kilty permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:32 pm

    That equaliser was cruel! The Benin keeper didn’t deserve that…

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