Benin held on to beat South Sudan 2-1 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier in Juba on Wednesday.
Victory propels Benin top of Group C with Mali set to face Equatorial Guinea in Bamako on Friday.
The Bright Stars have continued to improve under the watchful guidance of South Korean Sang-Jae Lee, but fell behind after 16 minutes. Westerlo forward Frederic Gounongbe continued his good scoring form, striking home the opener.
Second-half substitute Steve Mounie doubled the Squirrels lead with 15 minutes remaining before South Sudan pulled a goal back in the 88th minute.
In the presence of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who arrived in the country on his birthday to open the South Sudan Football Association's new office, the hosts pushed forward for the equaliser, but ultimately failed in their attempt.
The reverse fixture is scheduled for Stade de l'Amitié in Cotonou on Sunday.