Benin defied all odds to beat North African giants Morocco 4-1 on penalties after a one-all stalemate in normal time and book a quarter-final spot at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on Friday.
Although Morocco dominated the entire game, they failed to utilize their chances on goal against bold Benin who fought until the last minute of the game and eventually forced it into a draw at Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Moise Adilehou scored for Benin in the early stages of the second half to put them in the driving seat before Youssef En-Nesyri equalized for Morocco with 15 minutes left on the clock to send the game into extra time.
Before that, Morocco were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of normal time when Stephane Sessegnon fouled Achraf Hakimi in the area. But Hakim Ziyech’s attempt from the penalty spot hit a post and rebounded to safety.
To make matters worse for Benin, they played the final 23 minutes of extra time with one man down after Adenon’s dismissal for a second bookable offence.
However, Morocco failed to take the advantage of the extra-man and paid the price as they lost the shootout 4-1.
The Herve Renard coached side had 22 shots during the 120 minutes but they lacked the cutting edge and they paid the price.
The Atlas Lions had progressed from the group stage with three wins and without conceding a goal.
The giant slayers of Benin advanced to the last-16 as one of the best four third-placed teams in the group.
They failed to register any win in the three games played in their group collecting three draws in three games.
Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal and En-Nesyri failed to score for Morocco in the shootout, Oussama Idrissi was the only one who managed to score his.
Benin’s four takers in Olivier Verdon, David Djigla, Tidjani Anaane and Mama Seibou all managed to convert their spot kicks.
Morocco missed the chance of doubling their Nations Cup titles, their only title came in 1976 in Ethiopia while their head coach Herve Renard’s dream of winning his third title with the third country will also have to wait until 2021.
Benin made it to the Round of last 16 for the first time in their fourth appearance at the Nations Cup, they will face Senegal in the first quarterfinals on July 10th.