Benin stun Morocco in shootout for historic win
Africa Cup of Nations, Last 16 – Morocco 1 (En-Nesyri 76) Benin 1 (Adilehou 53) – Benin win 4-1 on penalties
Morocco star Hakim Ziyech's 90th-minute penalty miss cost his side dearly as Benin upset the Atlas Lions 4-1 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations for the first time.
Youssef En-Nesyri's equaliser 14 minutes from time got Morocco back into the game after Moise Adilehou's shock opener and it seemed like they would go through when Benin skipper Stephane Sessegnon felled Achraf Hakimi in the box.
Ziyech sent the goalkeeper the wrong way but saw his effort come agonisingly hit the outside of the post.
Benin played 23 minutes of extra time down to ten men after Khaled Adenon was dismissed for apparently shoving the referee, a second bookable offence.
He left the pitch very reluctantly before engaging in an argument with the Moroccan bench and it remains to be seen if he will play again in the tournament.
The underdogs looked to have been looking to get to penalties from the first minute and their accomplished kicks suggested as much. In contrast Morocco appeared nervy in the shoot-out with Sofiane Boufal blazing over the bar and Youssef En-Nesyri seeing his kick saved.
Morocco's forward Hakim Ziyech (2nd-R) reacts after missing a penalty kick as Benin's midfielder Mama Seibou celebrates during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Morocco and Benin at the Al-Salam Stadium in the EgyptiaGetty Images
Will Adenon play in the rest of the competition? Adenon has a chequered history. He was banned for a year by FIFA in 2012 after an altercation with a referee. The shove of the referee looked rather innocuous but his reaction in refusing to leave the field for two minutes and then almost starting a melee on the sideline is likely to extend his ban beyond a game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Olivier Verdon (Benin): An absolute rock at the back for his country always on hand to help his fellow defenders out when Morocco threatened. And he topped it off with a fantastic penalty.
Morocco-Benin penalty shootout endsGetty Images
54' - GOAL! Benin 1-0 Morocco. Didn't see this coming. A corner fell directly to Adilehou six yards from goal and he muscled da Costa out of it and volleyed a low shot home.
60' - CLOSE! Straight away Boufal nearly scores. Amrabat's fine cross from the right finds him in the box and he is very unlucky as he heads the ball down but it bounces over the bar.
76' - GOAL! Benin 1-1 Morocco. Morocco are level. Benin have been so good at the back but Adeoti had a shocker here. Amrabat dispossesses him in defence and then calmly squares the ball to En-Nesyri who slides the ball beyond the keeper.
90+4' - PENALTY! Wow! Hakimi is taken down from a ridiculous foul in the box by Sessegnon
90+4' - ZIYECH MISSES! He sends the keeper the wrong way but hits the post. Amazing.
97' - RED CARD! For Adenon. Benin down to ten men. It is unclear why he is sent off. Did he barge the referee or say something? He is refusing to go off....
Benin - Africa Cup of NationsGetty Images
- Benin penalty: GOAL! Verdon. He was a rock at the back and it's a fine penalty. Just past the keeper's outstretched arms.
- Morocco penalty: GOAL! Substitute Idrissi blasts the ball high into the net.
- Benin penalty: GOAL! Djigla. Love the name. Love the penalty. Calmy keeps eye contact with the keeper then sends him the wrong way.
- Morocco penalty: MISS! Boufal skies the ball way over the crossbar. Almost a yard too high.
- Benin penalty: GOAL! Another substitute Tijani hits the ball straight down the middle. Their kicks have been very accomplished.
- Morocco penalty: MISS! El-Nesyri's kick is brilliantly stopped by Allagbe. It seemed like he dived too far but stretched his arm high and push it against the bar.
- BENIN WIN! GOAL! Mama takes Benin home! They are in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Another great spot kick into the side-netting giving Bounou no chance.
498 minutes. The amount of time, combined, these teams had gone without conceding a goal before this game.