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U-20 AFCON: Benin book ticket to the quarter-finals despite losing to Gambi

Benin have qualified to the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations despite losing 1-0 Gambia in the final Group C match in Alexandria on Monday.

The Young Cheetahs came into the match with two points from their successive draws against Zambia and Tunisia. The Young Scorpions left it late to snatch all three points to finish the group with nine points.

 Gambia had already booked qualification and top spot in the group with a game to spare and coach Abdoulie Bojang made ten changes to the team that started against Zambia.

With Benin needing a point to guarantee their place in the knockout and Gambia reshuffling their team, it made the match even more interesting.

Mathias Deguenon’s team were not clinical in the match as has been in their previous matches and the problem continued during the match.

Samadou Attidjikou missed two chances to put the Cheetahs in front against the new look Young Scorpions defense which included captain Alagie Saine.

Forward Olatoundji Tessilimi had two denied by the lanky Gambian keeper Sanyang. Sanyang pulled a smart save down to his left to deny Tessilimi before his defense cleared another opportunity from Tessilimi on the half hour mark.

Benin dominated possession but failed to find the back of the net while Gambia looked a threat from set pieces through captain Alagie Saine.

 Rodolfo Aloko was presented with a chance on 69 minutes but he couldn’t convert for Benin.

The Young Scorpions broke the deadlock against the run of play through Tamimou Ouorou’s own goal on 88 minutes.

Left back Sainey Sanyang delivered an inswinging ball towards Mansour Mbye whose diving header was saved by the keeper before Tamimou inadvertently turned it to his goal.

The Cheetahs started the day in second place but the defeat and Tunisia’s 2-1 victory over Zambia moved them to third in Group C.

Gambia will face South Sudan in Alexandria for a place in semi-finals while Benin face Group A leaders Senegal in Cairo.

Tunisia who secured second place behind the Young Scorpions will take Congo with Zambia eliminated with just one point.

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