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Benin fall to surprise home defeat at the hands of Mozambique

In front of an expectant home crowd in Cotonou, Benin fell to a stunning 1-0 2023 AFCON qualifying defeat against an inspired Mozambique side to move the Mambas up to second place behind Senegal in Group L. Young attacking talent Geny Catamo provided a calm finish to a Reinildo Mandava cross in the first half and the hosts were unable to find an equalizer against a Mozambique side who appear determined to return to the AFCON. Mozambique have four points ahead of back-to-back matchups against group favorites Senegal in September while Benin are on zero points with work to be done against Rwanda.

The Mambas got off to an ideal start on the road by rebuffing any early attacks from the hosts to allow themselves time to settle into their surroundings. Young Sporting CP talent Catamo continued to show why he is a national team star for the future by causing the Beninese defense issues, firing just wide from fifteen yards out after receiving a cross from veteran captain Domingues. With Benin failing to threaten, Catamo hit the target the next time in the 38th minute when left back Mandava burst past a defender to the end line and placed his cross perfectly for Catamo to stroke a perfect finish past Saturnin Allagbé in the Benin goal.

Benin attempted a furious push in the second half but failed to put a single shot on target after the break. In fact it was Mozambique who nearly doubled their lead when Catamo’s free kick from out wide found an open Stanley Ratifo but he directed his header off target. The hosts came closest to equalizing in the 61st minute thanks to hard work from star striker Steve Mounié but after he held off a defender and provided a low cross to the penalty spot, Jodel Dossou failed to get his feet right with the goal begging. Mozambique held out rather comfortably to complete a disappointing outing for the Squirrels.

Highlights from Cotonou are below.

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