UPDATED: Benin defeat Nigeria in crucial World Cup qualifier

The Super Eagles are in trouble in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after they lost 2-1 to the Gernot Rohr-coached Cheetahs of Benin Republic on Monday evening in Abidjan.
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.

Coach Finidi sent on Victor Boniface and Paul Onuachu for the ineffective Terem Moffi and Alex Iwobi.

There was no communication between Ademola Lookman and a better-placed Onuachu from a Chukwueze cross in the 54th minute. Finidi then made further changes before the hour. Ibrahim Olawoyin came on for his debut for Samuel Chukwueze, while the injured Bright Osaka-Samuel had to be replaced by another debutant, Ismaila Sodiq.

A scramble in the Benin box ensued in the 66th minute, but the Cheetahs cleared their lines for a corner kick.
The Eagles needed Stanley Nwabali to rush off his line in the 69th minute to prevent a goal-scoring chance. Boniface and Onuachu collided in the 80th minute as the Eagles became more desperate.

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A great delivery from Olawoyin saw Lookman’s header loop off a Beninoise defender for a corner kick. Lookman had a chance to shoot or square for Onuachu on the dot of 90 minutes, but he did neither and had to settle for a corner.
Gabonese referee Pierre Ghislain Atcho blew the final whistle after five minutes of added time.
The Eagles have three points from three draws after the first four matches, while Rohr’s Benin lead Group C with seven points. 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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