The Cheetahs of Benin played this Wednesday, March 22 on the green lawn of the General Mathieu Kérékou stadium of Cotonou, their first match counting for the 3rd day of the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023. Playing against the Amavubis of Rwanda, they trailed 1-0 in the first half before turning the tide in the second half thanks to a well-taken shot by Steve Mounié. With 1 point, Benin is the bottom of group L largely dominated by Senegal who has 6.
1 goal each. This is the score of the first of the two-legged matches between Benin and Rwanda on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. The game started with a good energy on both sides. It was perfectly evenly-balanced until the 13th minute when the ball broke through the Beninese net with a powerful shot from Gilbert Mugashi.
The solidly built Rwandan defensive block did not yield to any assault by the Beninese. It was not until the last 20 minutes that the Cheetahs went wild and tried their best to even the score but there was no way out until the referee blew his final whistle.
Back from the locker room, the Beninese resumed the game in the most beautiful way. Opportunities at the 50th and 56th minutes caused fear among the opponents. At the 61st minute of play, the Rwandan Hakim Sahabo got a red card for a foul on Dodo Dokou.
Reduced to 10, the Amavubis were in great difficulty. They struggled to take control and the Beninese players totally dominated the game.
Steve Mounié, the savior of Benin.
Steve Mounié replaced Jordan Adéoti at the 70th minute, and quickly found his feet. The specialist of headers was able to snatch a great opportunity at the 76th minute which unfortunately ended up in the Rwandan goalkeeper’s hands.
It was finally six minutes later that he managed to put a smile on his teammates’ faces. After captain Stéphane Sèssègnon chested down the ball in the opponent’s half, Steve Mounié got hold of it and placed it in the back of the Rwandan net with a perfect shot.
Benin thus evened the score after a long period of agony.
Around the third minute of stoppage time, Mounié almost beat the Rwandan keeper with a header. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper did not let it happen.
Some statistics of the match.
Possession : Benin (69%) – Rwanda (31%).
Shots: Benin (26 of which 10 on target) – Rwanda (9 on which 4 on target).
-Passes : Benin (482)- Rwanda (238).
-Passing accuracy: Benin (87%)- Rwanda (67%).
Group L standing
Senegal : 6 Pts
Mozambique: 4 pts
Rwanda: 2 pts
Benin: 1 pts.
It should be noted that the second leg between Benin and Rwanda for the qualifiers of the Côte d’Ivoire AFCON 2023 is scheduled for next Monday, March 27.
The Cheetahs must win it or the qualifying ticket for the competition will slip through their fingers.