Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeLatest GistGernot Rohr Laughs as Benin stun Nigeria for FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Gernot Rohr Laughs as Benin stun Nigeria for FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Benin came from behind to stun Nigeria 2-1 while Liverpool star Mohamed Salah scored to salvage a 1-1 draw for Egypt against Guinea-Bissau in 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Monday.

Ghana pulled off an incredible comeback, defeating the Central African Republic 4-3 after trailing at halftime. Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew was the hero of the night, scoring thrice to secure the win for his team.

For Benin, the triumph was particularly sweet for coach Gernot Rohr. The 70-year-old German, who was sacked by Nigeria in 2021 after a five-year tenure, masterminded a stunning victory over his former team. Despite being 67 places below Nigeria in the world rankings, Benin’s win propelled them to the top of Group C with seven points, two more than Lesotho.

Nigeria, six-time World Cup qualifiers and runners-up at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, were expected to dominate their six-team section alongside South Africa. However, with three draws and one loss, they are currently languishing in fifth place with just three points, only above Zimbabwe.

Early Pressure on Nigeria’s Coach Finidi George

The defeat to Benin has put significant pressure on Nigeria coach Finidi George. He took over the team after Portuguese boss Jose Pereira resigned in February following the Cup of Nations. George has struggled to make an impact, winning only one of four competitive and friendly matches so far. The loss to Benin, a neighboring country, is likely to draw heavy criticism.

Benin, who have been forced to play in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, due to the lack of a FIFA-approved stadium, fell behind after 27 minutes. A long pass from Samuel Chukwueze set up Raphael Onyedika, who scored his first goal for Nigeria with a powerful shot.

However, Benin quickly responded with goals from Jodel Dossou and captain Steve Mounie before halftime. Dossou raced forward to beat goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali, and Mounie marked his 50th cap by smashing the ball into the net after a corner wasn’t cleared.

Group C Standings and Upcoming Matches

Benin now lead the group with seven points. Lesotho follows with five points, while Rwanda and South Africa each have four. Nigeria sits in fifth place with three points, and Zimbabwe is at the bottom with two.

Lesotho, who also face the challenge of not having an international-standard stadium and must play home matches in South Africa, will host Rwanda. Meanwhile, South Africa will play against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, June 11.

The stakes are high as the qualifiers progress, and the pressure mounts on teams to secure their spots in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Yachiga Tavershima
Yachiga Tavershimahttps://goalsvibe.com
Soccer Blogger with a keen eye for detailed reportage. I bring the latest drama in the most dramatic way
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