TUE 19 SEPTEMBER 2017, 18:00 , NDOUM STADIUM

1 Niger
VS
2 Benin

Niger out to defend top spot

Niger out to defend top spot
Boubacar Moumouni Abdoul Magid of Niger challenged by Aka Essis Baudelaire Fulgence and N Guessan Bi Kouame Noel of Ivory Coast during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Niger and Ivory Coast at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 17 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday Sep 19, 2017. 19:35

Niger will look to defend top spot in Group B of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations when they face Benin at the Nduom Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off at 18h00 local time.

Niger have been the surprise package of the group stage thus far and top the standings with four points, having beaten Senegal 2-1 on Friday before playing out a goalless stalemate with Ivory Coast on Sunday.

As a result, the Menas need only a draw in this match to ensure they finish in the top two and advance into the semifinals later this week.

They could lose top spot if they don’t beat the Squirrels and then be forced to face hosts Ghana in the final four, but assistant coach Chiek Omar Diabate says this is nothing to be worried about.

"Every team would like to avoid the host nation, but we have seen Ghana play so many times, we don't fear them," said Diabate.

"If we happen to meet them, we can beat them because we have seen their matches before coming here.”

As for Benin, the joy of their 1-0 win over Ivory Coast on Friday was quickly forgotten when they were hammered 4-0 by Senegal on Sunday.

The result leaves the Squirrels third on the log on three points and their equation is a simple one: if they beat Niger they will advance; anything less and they are eliminated.

Benin and Niger have met in 13 previous matches, according to FIFA statistics. The Squirrels have claimed five wins - compared to three for the Menas - and outscored their opponents 20 goals to 16 in the process.

Niger v Benin, head-to-head

Matches played 13
Niger wins 3
Benin wins 5
Draws 5
Niger goals 16
Benin goals 20

Benin, Niger both advance to WAFU semifinals

Benin, Niger both advance to WAFU semifinals
Victorien Adje Adebayor. Z of Niger challenging Fassinou Rodrigue of Benin during the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Niger v Benin in Elmina, Ghana on 19 September 2017 ©Christian Thompson/ BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday Sep 19, 2017. 22:12

Benin and Niger have both advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations after the former claimed a 2-1 win in their final Group B match at the Nduom Sports Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The Squirrels leapfrogged to the top of the log on six points and will face Nigeria in the semifinals later this week, while the Menas - who played much of the match with just nine men - finished level on four points with Senegal but advance on head-to-head results and will face Ghana in the final four.

Senegal could only draw 0-0 with Ivory Coast in the other Group B match played simultaneously at Cape Coast Stadium. Had the Teranga Lions won, they would have joined Benin in the semis.

Niger got off to the perfect start, claiming the lead as early as the fourth minute when Victorien Adebayor struck home from a powerful shot direct from a free kick.

Jacques Bessan almost came up with a quick reply for Benin, but his long-range effort in the sixth minute flew over the crossbar.

The Menas were dealt a blow on the quarter hour mark when they were forced to replace injured goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly after a lengthy spell for treatment. Mainassara Yahaya came off the bench to man the posts.

However, the replacement ‘keeper put his side in deep trouble just five minutes after coming on, as he committed a reckless foul outside the box and was shown a straight red card.

Niger were further reduced to nine men in the 35th minute when attacker Mahamadou Souley picked up his second yellow card and was sent for an early shower.

The Squirrels needed just two minutes with a two-man advantage to level the scores at 1-1, with defender Rodrigue Fassinou scoring an equaliser.

There was no less than 10 minutes of added time at the end of the first half, and in the course of it Niger needed substitute and outfield player Ganiyu Hutmanu, who was playing as a makeshift goalkeeper, to make a fine save.

Despite being down to nine men, Niger started the second half strongly and Adebayor almost claimed his brace in the 57th minute, only to be denied by a fine save from Steve Glodjinon.

Benin created chances, but Niger never lost their threat up front - Adebayor seemed to be on a one-man mission to add to his early goal, but he was repeatedly denied by the goalkeeper or unable to find the target.

Yet just when it seemed Niger would hold on for a draw against the odds, Benin struck a decisive goal in the 87th minute through substitute Jules Elegbede. It proved to be the match winner and clinched a semifinal berth for the Squirrels.

Niger (1) (A Adebayor 4’)
Benin (1) 2 (R Fassinou 37’, J Elegbede 87’)

Niger coach: Francois Zahoui Gagui Victor

Niger: 16. D Kassaly (1. M Yahaya 15’), 3. D Lebne, 5. G Adama, 15. A Katkore, 18. K Dankwae, 11. A Adebayor, 12. S Dela, 8. Y Daouda (4. I Mansour 55’), 23. M Boubacar, 20. B Hainikoye (14. G Hutmanu 23’), 17. M Souley

Benin coach: Oumar Tchomogo

Benin: 1. S Glodjinon, 12. B Mamah, 3. R Fassinou, 18. P Counou, 5. S Junior, 8. S Mama, 10. M Koukpo, 15. I Ogoulola (4. G Houngbedji 61’), 13. O Agnide (9. I Saliou 81’), 14. J Bessan (19. J Elegbede 69’), 11. C Gomez

Starting Lineup

Niger : Daouda Kassaly, Abdoul Magid Moumouni Boubacar, Hainikoye Soumana Boubacar, Adamou Garba Abdoul Nasser, Kofi Dankwae, Boureima Katkore Abdoulaye, Mahamadou Salamoun Souley, Yusif Moussa Daouda, David Daogo Lebne, Zakari Adebayor Adje Victorien, Dela Sakou Souleymane

Benin : Steve Glodjinon, Junior Salomon, Mama Sanni Bah Yere, Paterne Counou, Rodrigue Fassinou, Achirou Agnide Ismael Osseni, Charbel Codjo Gomez, Ibrahim Ogoulola, Seibou Mama, Jacques Bessan, Marcellin Degnon Koukpo

Live Commentary

1' The match is underway!
4' Zakari Adebayor Adje Victorien (Niger) scores!
15' Niger: Yahaya Babari Mainassara replaces Daouda Kassaly
17' Mahamadou Salamoun Souley (Niger) is cautioned.
17' Jacques Bessan (Benin) is cautioned.
20' Yahaya Babari Mainassara (Niger) is sent off.
35' Mahamadou Salamoun Souley (Niger) is sent off.
37' Rodrigue Fassinou (Benin) scores!
45 + 5' The referee brings the first half to an end.
46' The second half is underway
55' Niger: Ibrahim Hassane Mansour replaces Yusif Moussa Daouda
61' Benin: Komassouni Gaston Houngbedji replaces Ibrahim Ogoulola
69' Benin: Jules Elegbede replaces Jacques Bessan
71' Paterne Counou (Benin) is cautioned.
78' Seibou Mama (Benin) is cautioned.
81' Benin: Saliou Idrissou replaces Achirou Agnide Ismael Osseni
87' Jules Elegbede (Benin) scores!
90 + 4' The referee blows the whistle for Full Time.

Match Statistics

MATCH VENUE REFEREE
GROUP STAGE NDOUM STADIUM
NIGER GOALS BENIN GOALS
11. Zakari Adebayor Adje Victorien (4') 3. Rodrigue Fassinou (37')
18. Jules Elegbede (87')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
1 2 3
NIGER STARTING LINEUP BENIN STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
15'
16
Goalkeeper
1
Defender
5
12
Defender
71'
18
Midfielder
3
Defender
37'
3
12
13
Midfielder
11
Midfielder
18
Midfielder
61'
15
Midfielder
17'
35'
17
Midfielder
78'
8
Midfielder
55'
8
Forward/Striker
17'
69'
14
Forward/Striker
10
SUBSTITUTIONS
Yahaya Babari Mainassara
Midfielder
15'
0
Komassouni Gaston Houngbedji
Midfielder
61'
11
Ibrahim Hassane Mansour
Midfielder
55'
0
Jules Elegbede
Forward/Striker
69'
18
Saliou Idrissou
Midfielder
81'
12
CARDS
Mahamadou Salamoun Souley
Midfielder
17'
17
Jacques Bessan
Forward/Striker
17'
14
Yahaya Babari Mainassara
Midfielder
20'
0
Paterne Counou
Defender
71'
18
Mahamadou Salamoun Souley
Midfielder
35'
17
Seibou Mama
Midfielder
78'
8
KEY
Goal
Penalty Missed
Yellow Card
Substitute IN
Own Goal
Penalty Shootout Goal
Yellow / Red Card
Substitute OUT
Penalty
Penalty Shootout Miss
Red Card
Injury