Kanoute lifts Mali over Benin

The Sevilla striker scores the penalty to split the sides.

    Frederic Kanoute keeps the Eagles in control [AFP]

    Seidah Tchomogo had a chance to put Benin ahead in the 14th minute but his glancing header from the edge of the box missed just wide.

    "It was quite tough the pitch,'' Kanoute said.

    "Benin worked hard today and the most important thing is that we won.''

    The match was delayed by 10 minutes because of a power outage at Sekondi's newly renovated stadium.

    The entire arena went dark seconds after the national athems were played.

    The West African teams played in the same qualifying group, which Mali won and Benin finished second one point behind to earn a trip as one of the three best runners-up.

    Liverpool's Momo Sissoko played no part in Monday's game as Mali's French coach Jean-Francois Jodar opted for three-man midfield consisting of Real Madrid's Mahamadou Diarra, Sevilla's Seydou Keita and Bassala Toure.

    Sevilla's Kanoute led the Malian attack for a full 90 minutes alongside Traore.

    Benin, a nation of just just over 8 million people, was cheered throughout by its howling, percussion-pounding fans.

    Benin next plays Ivory Coast Friday while Mali meets Nigeria on the same day.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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