Benin Rep defied all odds and predictions to defeat Morocco in the (AFCON2019) Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 on Monday. The match, played at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, was rich in events and incidents and was eventually decided by a penalty shootout won by the Squirrels 4-1.
After a goalless draw in the first half which was quite balanced in domination and goal chances, Moise Adilehou put Benin ahead in the 53rd minute after breaking lose in the Atlas Lions’ area to drive home his effort.
While Benin were hoping to run away with the slim lead, Morocco fought back to level the scoreline at 1-1 in the 76th minute through Youssef En-Nesyri, who pounced on a defensive blunder from Jordan Adeoti to revive their push.
By the 90th minute, Morocco were handed a lifeline when Benin captain Stephane Sessegnon toppled a player in the box but the ensuing penalty kick was wasted by the unlucky Ajax star Hakim Ziyech – his effort sent the keeper the wrong way but came off the upright – to drag the meeting into extra time.
Seven minutes into the first half of extra time, Benin were reduced to 10 men when key defender Khaled Adenon was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Both teams dug it out until end of extra time without further goals. The Squirrels converted four spot kicks while Morocco missed two and scored one to bow out of the competition.
Benin are reaching the quarterfinals of the AFCON for the first time.