Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Benin shocked Nigeria 1-0 Sunday in African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying to complete a rare weekend of football celebrations for the tiny west coast country.
On Saturday, Beninese Steve Mounie scored twice for promoted Huddersfield Town in a 3-0 triumph at Crystal Palace that temporarily put them top of the English Premier League.
Seibou Mama was the toast of Cotonou Sunday after tucking away an 89th-minute penalty for the “Squirrels” in a final round first leg.
Sixth-ranked Nigeria are 19 places above Benin in Africa and host the return match in northern city Kano next Saturday.
The African Nations Championship is restricted to footballers playing in their country of birth and matches carry full international status and ranking points.
Niger were another west African country to cause an upset thanks to a late penalty, which delivered a 2-1 victory over the Ivory Coast in Niamey.
Seini Imeran put the home team ahead and Fabius Dosso levelled during an exciting climax to the opening half.
Halidou Garba scored the winning goal from the spot with six minutes remaining to give the Nigeriens hope of staging another giant-killing act.
Niger stunned Nigeria in a 2011 qualifier and went on to reach the quarter-finals in Sudan — their best showing in the biennial competition.
Debutants Egypt, notable and unexplained absentees from the previous four editions, had goalkeeper Mohamed Awad to thank for a 1-1 draw with Morocco in Alexandria.
— Nigeria Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) August 11, 2017
He made a string of superb second-half saves, including blocking an Abdelilah Hafidi spot-kick, as the visitors pressed for victory in the Mediterranean city.
Egypt, who lacked the unavailable stars of top clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek, made a perfect start with Ahmed el Sheikh converting a third-minute penalty after he was fouled.
Badr Banoun equalised early in the second half at the 87,000-seat Borg el Arab Stadium by rising to powerfully head a free-kick into the net.
Comoros took a 2-1 lead over Namibia in a clash of countries seeking a first appearance at the Nations Championship, which is scheduled for Kenya next January and February.
A Chadouli Mradabi tap-in and a Mohamed Youssef header gave the east coast islanders a two-goal half-time advantage in Moroni that was halved when Hendrik Somaeb converted a penalty.
Ethiopia came from behind to draw 1-1 with Sudan in Hawassa and Madagascar extended an unbeaten run in all competitions to 11 matches after a 0-0 stalemate with visiting Angola.
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) August 12, 2017