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Super Eagles suffer damaging World Cup qualifying blow vs. Benin

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Nigeria‘s FIFA World Cup-qualifying hopes took a heavy blow with a 2-1 defeat by Benin on Monday, but Ghana and Algeria salvaged wins while Egypt drew after all three were behind at halftime.

Ghana’s Jordan Ayew got a hat-trick as the Black Stars defeated Central African Republic 4-3 in Kumasi after trailing 2-1 at the break, while Algeria trailed 1-0 to Uganda in Kampala before second-half goals from Houssem Aouar and Saïd Benrahma secured a 2-1 win.

Mohamed Salah came to Egypt’s rescue with a sensational equaliser for a 1-1 away draw vs. Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria lost away to Benin, who had to stage the match in Abidjan in Ivory Coast because their own stadium in Cotonou was declared unfit for use in international games.

Nigeria led when Raphael Onyedika netted in the 27th minute, hesitating at first before squeezing the ball home, but Benin bounced back with goals by Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounié.

Dossou sprinted onto a breakaway chance to score, but sustained a hamstring injury in the process and had to come off soon after the 37th-minute goal, while Mounié scored a free back-post header to win the game as he profited from poor Nigeria defending.

The Super Eagles, who were favourites in Group C, have not won any of their opening four group matches and sit on three points while Benin lead with seven.

The victory was particularly sweet for Benin coach Gernort Rohr, sacked by Nigeria three years ago on the eve of taking them to the Africa Cup of Nations finals, and he was carried on the shoulders of his players at the final whistle.

Ghana battled rain to stage a spirited comeback with Ayew the hero, after being presented with a commemorative shirt before the match to mark 100 caps.

Ghana moved top of Group I with nine points after the victory, which followed an away triumph in Mali last week when Ayew snatched a late winner.

Egypt have a four-point lead in Group A while Algeria’s away win saw them reclaim top spot in Group G after Guinea lost 1-0 to a last-minute penalty for Mozambique, who joined Algeria on nine points.

Botswana are on six points in the group after a 3-1 away win over Somalia.

The winners of the nine African groups qualify for the 2026 World Cup in North America, but the best runner-up also has a chance for a slot via a lengthy playoff system.

Africa’s fourth round of qualifying group matches concludes on Tuesday.

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