THU 21 SEPTEMBER 2017, 15:00 , CAPE COAST SPORTS STADIUM

0 Benin
VS
1 Nigeria

Benin look to upset Nigeria in first semifinal

Benin look to upset Nigeria in first semifinal
John Ubong Friday of Nigeria challenged by Ampiah Emmanuel of Ghana during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations match between Ghana and Nigeria at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 18 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 20, 2017. 12:17

Benin will look to surprise heavyweights Nigeria when the teams meet in the first 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations semifinal on Thursday. The clash is slated for the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, with kick-off at 15h00 local time.

Benin were surprise qualifiers for the final four, finishing top of a tough Group B ahead of Niger, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Their crucial result was a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Niger on Tuesday night, with Rodrigue Fassinou and Jules Elegbede scoring the goals.

The Squirrels have beaten the likes of Cape Verde and Ivory Coast so far in the WAFU competition, so facing up to the might of Nigeria will not intimidate them. Coach Oumar Tchomogo and his underdog side will have nothing to lose, making them dangerous opponents.

As for Nigeria, they stuttered in their first two matches in Group A by playing to goalless draws and Mali and Guinea, but they upped their game against hosts Ghana on Monday night, recording a 2-0 win to join the Black Stars in the semifinals.

Coach Salisu Yusuf will hope the victory over Ghana has set his side on a path to glory - especially as they finally showed some efficiency in attack.

“Against Ghana we took our chances,” said the Super Eagles coach.

“In the first half we couldn't score. In the second half, our first two chances we scored the goals and we still missed some two chances.

“Like I told you earlier, it's all about taking your chances and doing the right things at the right time and you can win the game.”

The winner of this semifinal will face either Ghana or Niger in the final on Sunday, while the loser will play in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Nigeria and Benin have met in 18 previous matches, according to FIFA statistics. The Super Eagles have claimed 11 wins - compared to just two for the Squirrels - and outscored their opponents 42 goals to 10 in the process.

Nigeria v Benin, head-to-head

BENIN v NIGERIA

Rabiu Ali sends Nigeria into WAFU final

Rabiu Ali sends Nigeria into WAFU final
Moses Eneji Peter of Nigeria challenged by Gomez Charbel of Benin during 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations Semifinal match between Benin and Nigeria at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 21 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Brian Lee

Thursday Sep 21, 2017. 19:39

A first half goal from Rabiu Ali handed Nigeria a 1-0 win over a ten-man Benin in the first semifinal of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Thursday, September 21.

The Super Eagles took the lead in the tenth minute after beautiful counter-attacking football which saw Anthony Okpotu play Rabiu Ali through on goal and he showed all the composure of a veteran to coolly slot past the keeper, 1-0.

Nigeria almost doubled their lead on the half hour mark when a right wing cross from Moses Okoro was met by John Friday, but his ten-yard volley was superbly saved by the Benin keeper.

Things went from bad to worse for Benin when they were reduced to ten men in the 35th minute following a second yellow card for Marcellin Koukpo.

The Super Eagles controlled the remainder of the half, but failed to add to the scoreline before the break.

Seven minutes into the second half Benin nearly found an equaliser when Jules Elegbede met a right wing cross, but he blazed over from close range.

In the 57th minute Nigeria almost scored their second goal when John Friday met a corner-kick with a strong header, but his ten-yard effort shaved the wrong side of the crossbar.

Peter Moses should have put the game beyond doubt in the 73rd minute when he found himself in space only six-yards out from goal, but he was superbly thwarted by the Benin keeper.

Eight minutes later the Benin keeper came to his country’s rescue again, this time denying Afeez Aremu a headed goal with a diving save from eight-yards out.

The Super Eagles continued to push forward in the dying minutes of the game, but their finishing in front of goal was poor as the game ended 1-0.

Nigeria will now take part in the final of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations on Sunday, September 24.

Benin (0) 0

Nigeria (1) 1 (Ali 10’)

 Teams

 Benin coach: Oumar Tchomogo

 Benin: 1. Glodjinon, 3. Fassinou, 6. Yarou, 5. Salmon, 12. Bah-Yere, 15. Ogoulola, 8. Mama, 9. Saliou (13. Osseni 59’), 10. Koukpo, 11. Gomez, 19. Elegbede (14. Bessan 66’).

Nigeria coach: Salisu Yusuf

Nigeria: 1. Ezenwa, 2. Okoro, 5. Ariwachukwu, 12. Aniyikaye, 3. Akas, 4. Aremu, 8. Ifeanyi, 7. Friday (15. Mathias 68’), 11. P Moses, 10. Ali (14. Okechukwu 85’), 9. Okpotu.

Starting Lineup

Benin : Steve Glodjinon, Junior Salomon, Mama Sanni Bah Yere, Nabil Yarou, Rodrigue Fassinou, Charbel Codjo Gomez, Ibrahim Ogoulola, Saliou Idrissou, Seibou Mama, Jules Elegbede, Marcellin Degnon Koukpo

Nigeria : Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Olalekan Afeez Aremu, Akas Uche Chima, Emmanuel Ariwachukwu, Moses Osadebamwen Okoro, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Okpotu Anthony, Peter Eneji Moses, Rabiu Ali, Aniyikaye Adeleye Olamilekan, Friday Ubong John

Live Commentary

1' The match is underway!
10' Rabiu Ali (Nigeria) scores!
19' Marcellin Degnon Koukpo (Benin) is cautioned.
24' Emmanuel Ariwachukwu (Nigeria) is cautioned.
35' Marcellin Degnon Koukpo (Benin) is sent off.
45 + 2' The referee brings the first half to an end.
46' The second half is underway
59' Benin: Achirou Agnide Ismael Osseni replaces Saliou Idrissou
66' Benin: Jacques Bessan replaces Jules Elegbede
68' Nigeria: Samuel Mathias replaces Friday Ubong John
72' Junior Salomon (Benin) is cautioned.
78' Peter Eneji Moses (Nigeria) is cautioned.
85' Nigeria: Gabriel Okechukwu replaces Rabiu Ali
90 + 3' Ibrahim Ogoulola (Benin) is cautioned.
90 + 4' The referee blows the whistle for Full Time.

Match Statistics

MATCH VENUE REFEREE
SEMI FINALS CAPE COAST SPORTS STADIUM
BENIN GOALS NIGERIA GOALS
11. Rabiu Ali (10')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
3 1 2
BENIN STARTING LINEUP NIGERIA STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
1
Goalkeeper
1
Defender
72'
5
Defender
5
12
Defender
24'
4
Defender
5
3
Midfielder
18
Midfielder
11
Midfielder
90 + 3'
15
Midfielder
68'
17
Midfielder
59'
12
Midfielder
10
Midfielder
8
Forward/Striker
66'
18
Midfielder
78'
16
Forward/Striker
19'
35'
10
Midfielder
10'
85'
11
SUBSTITUTIONS
Achirou Agnide Ismael Osseni
Midfielder
59'
13
Samuel Mathias
Defender
68'
12
Jacques Bessan
Forward/Striker
66'
14
Gabriel Okechukwu
Midfielder
85'
14
CARDS
Marcellin Degnon Koukpo
Forward/Striker
19'
10
Emmanuel Ariwachukwu
Defender
24'
4
Marcellin Degnon Koukpo
Forward/Striker
35'
10
Peter Eneji Moses
Midfielder
78'
16
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