A goal in each half from Idrissa Halidou and Victorien Adebayor handed Niger the bronze medal at the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations after beating Benin 2-1 in a third/fourth place play-off match at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 24.
It was a slow start from both teams with the first shot on goal coming in the 12th minute courtesy of Benin’s Charbel Gomez, but his 22-yard pile-driver was brilliantly saved by the keeper.
Ten minutes later Niger had their first sight on goal when Boubacar Magid met a corner-kick with a strong header, but his effort went just over the target.
On the half hour mark the Menas took the lead when Idrissa Halidou met a low right-wing cross from Boubacar Hainikoye and expertly turned the ball home from 12-yards out, 1-0.
Benin suffered a further set-back two minutes later when Ibrahim Ogoulola left the field injured and was replaced by Idrissou Saliou.
Niger finished the half the stronger of the two sides with Victorien Adebayor almost doubling their lead two minutes before the break after meeting a cross from the left with a thunderous 14-yard volley, but his effort shaved the wrong side of the crossbar.
Ten minutes into the second half Benin were the first to threaten, but Charbel Gomez saw his 22-yard free go just over the target.
Ten minutes later Charbel Gomez was in the thick of the action again with another powerful long range shot which the Niger keeper spilled into the path of Jacques Bessan, but he fired wide from close range.
The final 20 minutes saw Benin push forward in search of an equaliser and in doing so left themselves exposed at the back, a fact Niger took full advantage of with a counter-attack in the 85th minute which saw Victorien Adebayor find the back of the net, 2-0.
Benin did find some consolation in the dying seconds of the game when Nabil Yarou poked the ball home following a goalmouth scramble, 2-1.
Benin (0) 1 (Yarou 90’)
Niger (1) 2 (Halidou 29’, Adebayor 85’)
Benin coach: Oumar Tchomogo
Benin: 1. Glodjinon, 3. Fassinou (2. Adjanakou 60’), 6. Yarou, 5. Salmon, 12. Bah-Yere, 13. Osseni (14. Bessan 52’), 4. Hougbedji, 8. Mama, 15. Ogoulola (9. Saliou 32’), 11. Gomez , 19. Elegbede.
Niger coach: Francois Zahoui Gagui Victor
Niger: 22. Losseini, 3. Lebene,17. Souley, 5. Adamou (14. Ganiyu 75’), 19. Khaido, 20. Hainikoye, 12. Dela, 23. Boubacar, 10. Halidou (4. Masour 58’), 9. Hinsa, 11. Victorien.