Benin 2–2 Mozambique: The Mambas Come From Behind To Earn A Vital Draw

The Squirrels and the Mambas fail to register a win in the AFCON finals but at least they improved their goal tally in the competition.

Both teams started the match with an unpleasant record of having not won any of their previous matches in African Cup of Nations, but again, they each failed to make a difference.

The Squirrels started the game on the high and in the 3rd minute striker Pote raced down the left wing and then cut into the box but his final shot was blocked by Mozambican defender Kilan for a corner. The corner was taken well, but cleared by the southern Africans.

In the fifth minute, the Squirrels were again on the loose with Razak Omotoyossi and danger man Ogunbiyi Mouritala exchanging passes well, but Razak's final shot was well blocked by Dario Khan. Three minutes later, there was a melee in the Mozambique goal mouth and keeper Rafael parried a goalward shot for a corner with Kapango clearing the ball.

Benin got their opener in the 15th minute when Ogunbinyi beat the keeper but was tripped before shooting. The referee awarded a penalty which Omotoyossi buried. The keeper Rafael was shown a yellow card.

After the goal Mozambique started going forward but in the 21st minute they were caught on the offensive when Ogubinyi passed to Omotoyossi who turned and aimed but his shot hit Sessegnon Stéphane who was yards away from the goalmouth. Unfortunately Dario Khan miscued his clearance to score an own goal.

Two minutes later, Benin would have made it three but Ogunbiyi's shot was blocked. The scoreline roused the Mambas to go forward and in the 28th minute they were lucky when the Benin keeper missed a corner ball and Lobo headed to an empty net for the Mambas’ opener

Thereafter the game slowed down but Mozambique kept pushing forward using the left flank, although Monteiro’s crosses were not utilised by the attackers.

The Squirrels were running out of the ideas that they had exhibited in the earlier minutes. Mozambique would have equalised in the dying minutes but Muculmana was selfish to take a shot instead of crossing to the attackers who were waiting to turn it towards goal. The shot was blocked before causing any harm. The first half ended 2-1 in favour of the Squirrels.

In the second half Benin could have extended their lead when Omotoyossi beat the keeper only for Dario to clear the ball which was heading over the line. At least Dario redeemed himself after scoring an own goal in the first half.

The Mozambicans looked more dangerous going forward. Their fighting spirit was rewarded in the 53rd when Benin keeper Djidonou Yoann cleared the ball for a throw in. It was quickly taken and Dominques picked out Fumo in the penalty area and the midfielder shot into an empty net as the keeper was racing to his area.

Five minutes later it was Benin who were on the offensive but defender Sitoe fouled Omotoyossi and was yellow carded. The resultant free-kick was cleared for a fruitless corner.

The Mambas would have gone ahead in the 70th minute but skipper Tico Tico's shot missed the net by a whisker.

Mozambique made the first substitution in the 76 minute when Helder came in for goal hero Fumo so as to add vigour offensively but Benin’s Sessegnon almost scored two minutes later with a fine header that missed the net by inches.

Mozambique again made changes by taking out Bila for Hagi in the 83rd minute. Two minutes later, Benin also brought in Kobena in place of the inspirational Ogunbiyi.

The Mozambique keeper almost gifted Benin a winner in the 84th minute when he spilled a simple ball by making an awful gymnastic blunder, but Omotoyossi missed the ball after Kapango cleared the danger.

In the 89th minute, Dominques found Tico in the box but the danger man was judged to have been off side.

Three minutes of stoppage time was added to the ninety minutes. Mozambique brought on Parraque for Bucuane in the 92nd minute but before the midfielder could touch the ball, the referee blew the final whistle.

James Momanyi, Goal.com