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Little Benin march on in World Cup

SoccerNews in World Cup 7 Sep 2008


Minnows Benin reached the last qualifying phase in Africa for the 2010 World Cup Sunday with giants Egypt and Ivory Coast poised to join them.

Razack Omotoyossi scored twice as the Squirrels of Benin beat the Black Antelopes of Angola 3-2 in a Cotonou thriller to accompany Cameroon and Nigeria into the third elimination stage on the road to the finals in South Africa.

Victory gave Benin an unassailable five-point advantage over surprise 2006 World Cup qualifiers Angola and Uganda in Group 3 with one series of second round fixtures to come next month.

African champions Egypt bounced back from a friendly hiding in Sudan last month to overcome the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 in Kinshasa with star midfielder Mohamed Aboutraika snatching the winner.

A point from their final fixture against whipping boys Djibouti in Cairo will clinch top spot in Group 12 for the Pharaohs while Malawi and DR Congo scrap to fill one of eight slots reserved for runners-up.

Didier Drogba-less Ivory Coast surrendered the lead in a 1-1 away draw with Mozambique but closest Group 7 challengers Botswana lost leaving the Elephants needing only a draw to progress when they host modest Madagascar.

Congo left it late to keep alive hopes of advancing from Group 10 with Wilfried Endzanga scoring the only goal against pacesetters Mali three minutes before full-time in Brazzaville.

And Gabon moved above Ghana into second place on the Group 5 standings after a 3-0 away triumph over Lesotho thanks to second half goals from Bruno Ecuele, Roguy Meye and Bruno Mbanagoye.

Madagascar won for the first time in Group 7 with an early goal from Mauritius-based Stephan Rabemananjara separating the Indian Ocean island nation from the visiting Zebras of Botswana in Antananarivo.

Zimbabwe were held 0-0 by Guinea in Harare and after dropping four points in two Group 2 home outings must win their final fixture away to Namibia to have any chance of squeezing through among the best runners-up.

Uganda are masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and the Cranes conceded two late goals to crash 3-1 at previously pointless Niger in Group 3 and probably blow any hope of being among the final 20 contenders.

Khaled Adenon gave Benin a first-minute lead and although Flavio Amado levelled soon after, Omotoyossi rocked Angola with two second half goals before Arsenio 'Love' Cabungula reduced arrears and triggered a tense climax.

Recent Wigan Athletic signing Amr Zaki dispossessed a Congolese defender to present Egypt's arch predator Aboutraika with the chance to lob goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba on 30 minutes before a capacity 80,000 crowd at the Martyrs Stadium.

An Ivorian team lacking injured strikers Drogba, Arouna Kone and Aruna Dindane took an early second half lead in Maputo through Bakary Kone only for Mozambqiue defender Almiro 'Miro' Lobo to equalise four minutes later.

Alassane Issoufou was the scourge of Uganda in Niamey, cancelling a David Obua goal before putting his team ahead five minutes from full-time to give Scottish coach Bobby Williamson a painful debut.


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