Madagascar striker Jean Razafindrakoto hit a late goal to give them a hard-fought 1-0 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) win against Niger on Friday to clinch third place in the competition.
Razafindrokoto scored the winner in the 90th minute to seal the win at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in the Algerian city of Oran.
The win capped a great first CHAN tournament for the Berea who stunned several favourites on their path to the third-place playoff match.
Goalkeeper Mahamadou Djibo could have done better in dealing with a shot from substitute Tendry Manovo a few minutes before the end of the match.
The Niger goalkeeper spilt the ball into Razafindrokoto’s path, allowing the striker the opportunity to hammer home from inside the box to reduce Niger’s tournament efforts to fourth place.
Coach Harouna Doula Gabde’s team couldn’t recover from the 5-0 semi-final defeat to Algeria on Tuesday as they looked lethargic, three days after suffering the competition’s biggest defeat so far.
The Menas will head home after suffering back-to-back defeats but will be delighted with their performances having edged past continental giants Cameroon and Ghana in the earlier stages of the competition.
The Menas never relented even as the Berea dominated possession before the break as they also created scoring opportunities of their own.
Madagascar had the best chance of the half in the second minute of added time as Mario Carlos forced a save from Tanji before the ball fell to Olivier Randriatsiferana who skied from inside the box.
Niger came back from the recess determined to cause an upset with Adamou Ibrahim, Ousseini Badamassi and Hainikoye all missing good scoring opportunities.
Razafindrokoto scored what turned out to be the winner after Djibo deflected a shot from Manovo into the path of the forward who accepted the gift.