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AFCON: Benin win boosts 2017 qualifying hopes, Cranes in race

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP |

Benin made the most of their FIFA world ban being lifted to beat Equatorial Guinea 2-1 on Sunday and retain hopes of reaching the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

A Khaled Adenon goal put the Beninese Squirrels ahead, Ben Essono equalised and David Djigla scored the winner on 59 minutes at Stade de l’Amitie in Cotonou.

Adenon and Essono scored with diving and looping headers respectively off free-kicks and Djigla slammed a cut-back into the net from close range.

Scheduled for last Sunday, the fixture was delayed one week to allow Benin to hold national football federation elections, which they did two days ago.

The FIFA ban stemmed from a court blocking the elections after a complaint by 20 clubs, who said federation statutes had been violated.

Mali lead Group C with 13 points, Benin have 11, and South Sudan (three) and 2015 Cup of Nations hosts and semi-finalists Equatorial Guinea (one) are out of contention.

The Malians are guaranteed a place at the 2017 tournament either as group winners or one of the best two runners-up.

Benin visit Mali for a final-round qualifier and a victory would lift them to the top of the final standings.

A draw would give the Squirrels a chance to fill one of the runners-up places.

Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe have qualified for the biennial tournament.

Hosts Gabon are automatic participants, leaving six places up for grabs during the September 2-4 final match day.

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