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Benin hold off Tanzanian siege in Dar es Salaam before star striker Mounié stuns home crowd with moment of class

In a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier, Benin’s excellent defense fended off multiple attacks from Tanzania before the Squirrels utlilized the brilliance of star marksman Steve Mounié to stun the home crowd with a brilliant second half winner and come out of Dar es Salaam with three massive points. Benin move to the top of Group J with the victory with seven points and lead second placed DR Congo by two points with the top spot now theirs to lose. Tanzania remain on four points and drop to third place in the group following a heartbreaking defeat.

The stakes were high heading into the match and Tanzania were buoyed by the allowance of home fans for the occasion, but Benin got off to a solid start and did not bunker in their own end. In the 9th minute, a Jodel Dossou free kick from the right flank found Mounié for a firm header from six yards out that was pushed away by Taifa Stars custodian Aishi Manula.

The hosts began to assert themselves a bit after the strong Beninese start and had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 22nd minute. A brilliant long ball from the Tanzanian defense got behind the back line of Benin and found the pacey Simon Msuva, who headed the bouncing ball around keeper Saturnin Allagbe. However, Msuva did not notice the retreating Benin captain Khaled Adenon as he attempted to apply the finish and his shot was not powerful enough to prevent Adenon from getting back and clearing off the line. The teams went into halftime deadlocked at 0-0.

Tanzania dominated the second half after an even first stanza and had multiple opportunities to open the scoring. A quick thinking free kick sent Msuva down the right flank in the 57th minute and the Wydad Casablanca forward put a bouncing cross to an onrushing Denis Kibu, whose shot was well kept out by an impressive Allagbe. Kibu came close again ten minutes later when the halftime substitute headed another cross from Msuva low on goal but once again Allagbe came up with the save before collecting safely.

A stunning moment of individual brilliant would undo Tanzania when it seemed imminent that the hosts would find the opener. A rare foray forward for Benin found Mounié, who collected a pass on the left flank with not much attacking support and cut inside before launching a well curled shot from outside the box that left Manula helpless as the ball nestled in the corner of the goal. It was a sucker punch of the highest order and now the Taifa Stars had to scramble to come up with a goal against the sturdy Benin defense. The closest they came was when substitute Abdul Suleiman blasted a shot from 22 yards out that rattled the crossbar before going over the goal.

In the end Benin’s reliable strategy of staying defensively solid and relying on the brilliance of Mounié worked out once again for the Squirrels as they held out for the three points on the road. Highlights are in the button link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV


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