JUST IN: Benin Republic beats Super Eagles for the first time, leaves Nigeria’s World Cup hopes hanging

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The Cheetahs of Benin Republic have pulled off a major shock by defeating Nigeria’s Super Eagles 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in Abidjan on Monday. 

For the second match running, the Super Eagles went into the second half, trailing. The Eagles did not start brightly, but they took the lead through Raphael Onyedika’s first goal for his country. But a mistake by Calvin Bassey allowed Jodel Dossou to level for Gernot Rohr’s men.

In the third minute of added time in the first half, Brest attacker Steve Mounie blasted home in the box as the Eagles failed to clear a corner kick.

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After Benin took a shock 2-1 lead just before halftime through goals from Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie, they managed to hang on in the second half despite heavy Nigerian pressure to secure a famous victory.

Nigeria had been utterly dominant against Benin in past meetings, winning 11 of the previous 13 matchups while the other two ended in draws. But the talent-laden Super Eagles have struggled mightily in this World Cup qualifying campaign under new coach Finidi George, collecting just 4 points from their opening 4 matches.

The shock result leaves Nigeria in fifth place in Group C, already 4 points back of Benin at the top with just 4 games remaining. Missing out on the 2026 World Cup would be a massive disappointment for Nigerian football after qualifying for the last 4 tournaments.

However, this night belonged to plucky Benin and their band of unheralded players like goalscorers Dossou and Mounie, as they celebrated wildly on the pitch after the final whistle.

The next set of matches is in March 2025, when the Eagles will travel to Kigali to face Rwanda and then host Zimbabwe.

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