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WCQ: Nigeria lose to Benin Republic, remain 5th in group

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have lost 2-1 to the Benin Republic in their 2026 World Cup qualification game.

The Eagles were stunned by the doggedness of the Beninese at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on Monday.

The loss condemned the team to fifth place in Group C, with a slim chance of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Nigeria came into the game following a 1-1 home draw against South Africa four days prior.

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Despite George Finidi, Super Eagles head coach, making two changes to the line-up that started the previous game, the team’s performance failed to improve.

Raphael Onyedika came on for Fisayo Dele-Bashiru in the midfield, while Terem Moffi started ahead of Paul Onuachu.

The Eagles produced sparks of excellence in the match’s early stages, and the efforts culminated in a lead in the 27th minute.

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Onyedika bought himself space and time at the edge of the Beninese goal area and smashed home the shot to put Nigeria ahead.

But Benin struck back 10 minutes later. A defensive mishap from Calvin Bassey sent Jodel Dossou clear on goal, and the striker placed the ball past an on-rushing Stanley Nwabali into the net.

The Squirrels turned the game around a few minutes later when Steve Mounie pounced on a loose ball inside the Nigerian goal area and made the 2-1.

The Eagles are fifth in the qualification group with three points from four games. They rank above only Zimbabwe, which has a game at hand.

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