Benin made to pay the penalty

2010-01-16 20:18
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (AP)

Angola - Nigeria defeated Benin 1-0 on Saturday here at the Ombaka Stadium to get their Africa Cup of Nations campaign back on track after a loss to Egypt in their opening Group C match.

The Super Eagles netted the match winner after 42 minutes from the penalty spot through Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni after Romuald Boco handled a goal-bound header by Osaze Odemwingie.

The goal atoned for Yakubu's miss earlier in the first-half, when put through on goal by Kalu Uche after 15 minutes, the big striker drilled his shot from inside the box inches away from target with goalkeeper Rachad Chitou beaten.

This was Nigeria's third win in as many Nations Cup clashes with their neighbours and it moves the Eagles to second place in the group with group leaders Egypt and Mozambique to play later on Saturday.

Nigeria kicked off this west African derby but the first half-chance fell to Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi in the third minute inside the box with the Nigerian goal at his mercy, but he hesitated to allow the Eagles clear for a corner.

Otherwise it was a rather cautious start by Nigeria and Benin after the first 10 minutes of play as there was hardly much to choose between the two teams.

Benin packed their defence and began to cling on to their lives as the game wore on and Nigeria launched wave after wave of attacks.

However, the Eagles attacks were slow and predictable and so allowed their opponents to clear their lines.

Stephane Sessegnon brought the crowd at the Ombaka Stadium to its feet in the 38th minute when he let fly from about 30 metres, but the crossbar came to the rescue of Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Four minutes after the break, Nigeria would have doubled their lead through Bolton defender Danny Shittu but his shot from a free kick was somehow scrambled to safety by Chitou.

?? And at the other end of the pitch, it was a battle of attrition between Omotoyossi and Nigeria skipper Joseph Yobo.

Omotoyossi would win this when an injured Yobo was forced to limp out of the game in the 52nd minute after a clash with the combative FC Metz striker. ?? Sessegnon scuffed his shot in the 53rd minute and moments later, Nouhoum Kobena saw his shot from 12 yards come off the Nigerian crossbar as Benin mounted their own pressure for an equaliser.

In the 62nd minute, Nigeria were denied a second goal through substitute Obinna Nsofor after Chitou saved off the feet of the Malaga striker after he was put through on goal by the dashing Obasi.

Both teams then created chances but they could not put the ball in the back of the net before Angolan referee Martins de Carvalho blew the final whistle.

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