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Benin Republic stun Super Eagles, go top of World Cup qualifying group


THE Super Eagles of Nigeria continued their poor run in the qualifying series for the 2026 World Cup with a shock 2-1 defeat to Benin Republic in Abijdan, Cote d’Ivoire today.

The three-time African champions are the highest-ranked team in the qualifying group by FIFA but they are yet to win after four rounds of matches against Lesotho, Zimbabwe, South Africa and now Benin Republic.

Today’s result leaves the Super Eagles fifth in the six-team group with just three points from four games, while Benin Republic, handled by former Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr, shot to first place with seven points.

The Super Eagles, with several changes from the starting line-up against South Africa on Friday, took the lead for the first time in this qualifying series but they conceded twice and never recovered.

Raphael Onyedika, one of the new players coach Finidi George brought in today, opened the scoring for the Super Eagles with a brilliant strike in the 27th minute as Nigeria looked on course for their first win of the campaign.

The lead lasted only 10 minutes as the Cheetahs levelled up through Jodel Dossou after Calvin Bassey failed to clear a long ball.

Benin Republic completed the turnaround in first-half stoppage time when Steve Mounie flashed the ball past goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali from inside the Super Eagles following a corner kick.

Despite a rash of changes by Finidi in the second half, including the introduction of strikers Paul Onuachu and Victor Boniface as well as midfielder Ibrahim Olawoyin, there was little difference as Benin Republic held on for a famous win.

While the Super Eagles are yet to win in the series, Benin Republic have won two consecutive games, including today’s victory that’s their second ever in 17 meetings with Nigeria, and are now four points clear of their much more illustrious neighbours.



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