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2023 AFCON Qualifying: Mozambique triumph over Benin in Maputo to clinch qualification

There were scenes of joy at the Estádio do Zimpeto in the Mozambican capital of Maputo after Mozambique defeated Benin by a 3-2 score on Saturday to confirm their place at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Clésio Baúque scored deep into stoppage time to secure the victory for the Mambas who only needed to avoid defeat in order to join Senegal as the teams to qualify out of Group L. Mozambique will now take part at their first Africa Cup of Nations finals since 2010.

Benin had a chance to overtake their hosts for qualification with a victory and it was a positive start for the Cheetahs in front of a packed house of expectant Mozambican supporters. Cheetahs star striker Steve Mounié put the visitors into the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, firing low past Mozambique goalkeeper Ernan Siluane after midfielder Amadú committed a handball.

The opening goal led to an exhilarating first half that saw momentum swing back to the hosts. Seven minutes later the Mambas were level when left back Bruno Langa got free on the wing and found Witi with a low cross for the attacker to equalize with a first-time finish. Mozambique took the lead four minutes later through debutant Ricardo Guimarães after the GC Chaves midfielder’s deflected shot snuck by Benin keeper Saturnin Allagbé.

Benin pushed to find their way back into the match in the second half and brought the match back level in the 50th minute through Jodel Dossou’s header from a hard shot by Abdoul Moumini. The visitors nearly stunned the home support with a goal early in second half stoppage time but Siluane came up with an important save on a shot from Benin substitute Marcellin Koukpo before Clésio confirmed victory with his low finish past Allagbé.

Highlights of the match are below.

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