Wednesday Jun 08, 2022. 23:21
Mozambique recorded their first win of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign after beating Benin 1-0 at the Stade de l’Amitie on Wednesday night.
Geny Catamo’s first-half goal settled this Group L encounter in Cotonou to give the Mambas their first victory as they closed within two points of leaders Senegal, who have a perfect record after two games.
Michel Dussuyer’s side bring up the rear following back-to-back defeats, although they trail Rwanda by just one point ahead of their meeting on matchday 3 in September.
With the Lions of Teranga expected to top the group in qualifying, both teams were targeting a first win to bolster their respective chances going through as runners-up.
The first real opportunity came the way of the visitors as Catamo pushed his shot just wide of the left post from inside the box on 17 minutes after being set up by Elias Pelembe.
Olivier Verdon should perhaps have done better at the other end of the pitch five minutes later when he directed a header high and wide of the target from close range after getting on the end of Matteo Ahlinvi’s cross.
David Kiki wasted a promising chance for the West Africans 10 minutes before half-time, sending his free-kick well over the goal and they were made to pay just three minutes later when Catamo slotted home from inside the area after receiving the ball from Reinildo.
Benin looked for a quick response and Cebio Soukou forced Ernan into a fine save with his strike from range in the final minute of the first half, while Steve Mounie tested the visiting keeper with a header from Jodel Dossou’s cross six minutes after the restart.
Stanley Ratifo was just inches away from doubling Mozambique’s lead on 56 minutes as he steered a header narrowly past the right post from Catamo’s free-kick and Gildo Vilanculos also went close when he nodded a set-piece beyond the left upright in the 76th minute.
Junior Olaitan tried his luck from distance at the death in an attempt to rescue a point for the Squirrels, but he failed to trouble Ernan, who kept his first clean sheet of the qualifying campaign.
Benin (0) 0
Mozambique (1) 1 (Catamo 38′)
Benin: S. Allagbe, M. Doremus (Y. Assogba 59′), K. Adenon, O. Verdon (M. Tijani 85′), D. Kiki, J. Dossou (R. Adigo 85′), S. Bawa, M. Ahlinvi (J. Olaitan 59′), C. Soukou (M. Koukpo 74′), A. Tosin, S. Mounie.
Mozambique: Ernan, Mexer, Zainadine Junior, Reinildo, Clesio, Kambala, Shaquille, G. Vilanculos (Amadu 81′), E. Pelembe (Witi 71′), G. Catamo, S. Ratifo (Reginaldo 72′).