Last-gasp Benin clinch WAFU semi place

Benin and Niger in action at the WAFU Cup of Nation
Benin in yellow eventually overcame Niger 2-1 to progress to the semi-finals of the WAFU Cup of Nations (photo courtesy of BackpagePix via WAFU)

Benin scored late to secure a 2-1 win over Niger and progress to the semi-finals of the WAFU Cup of Nations.

Niger edged into last four of the regional championship as well thanks to their earlier win over Senegal, who they finished level on points with.

Senegal and Ivory Coast's Group B campaign ended in a goalless draw, a win for either side would have seen them advance.

Thursday's semi-finals see Benin face Nigeria and hosts Ghana play Niger.

Group AGroup B
Ghana6 ptsBenin6 pts
Nigeria5 ptsNiger4 pts
Mali2 ptsSenegal4 pts
Guinea2 ptsIvory Coast 2 pts

Niger scored after just four minutes through Victorien Adebayor as fired home a free kick.

But things began to go wrong for Niger after 15 minutes when their experienced keeper Daouda Kassaly was forced off with an injury.

His replacement Mainassara Yahaya lasted just five minutes before being sent off for a foul outside the area which meant midfielder Ganiyu Hutmanu .

It got even worse for Niger 10 minutes before half-time when forward Mahamadou Souley was also dismissed for a second yellow card.

Beinin equalised just two minutes later when defender Rodrigue Fassinou was on target.

It took Benin until the 87th minute for their two-man advantage to count again when substitute Jules Elegbede grabbed the winner.

Group A was decided on Wednesday with Nigeria progressing as runners-up thanks to a 2-0 win over hosts Ghana, who finished top of the table despite the loss.

Mali and Guinea drew 1-1 in the other match as both teams were knocked out of the tournament.

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