Mozambique seal AFCON return after dramatic win over Benin


Mozambique will return to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in over a decade after a thrilling 3-2 win over Benin on Saturday.

This victory was a momentous achievement for the Mambas, marking their return to the Afcon after an 11-year absence and setting the stage for their fifth appearance in the tournament finals.

The game unfolded with immense tension, as Mozambique needed at least a draw to secure second place in Group L, behind the formidable African champions, Senegal.

However, the early moments of the match saw Benin take the lead, courtesy of a Steve Mounie penalty in the 20th minute, leaving the Mozambican supporters anxious.

Undeterred, the Mambas launched a spirited comeback. In the 27th minute, Witi capitalized on Bruno Langa's assist, skillfully slotting the ball into the net to level the score at 1-1, reigniting their qualification hopes.

Their determination bore fruit just five minutes later when Witi turned provider, setting up Ricardo Guimaraes to score a spectacular goal in the 32nd minute, giving Mozambique a 2-1 lead.

The Cheetahs of Benin, however, were not to be outdone. Early in the second half, Jodel Dossou connected with Abdoul Moumini's assist, equalizing the scoreline at 2-2 and rekindling the possibility of an upset victory for the visitors.

As the game entered stoppage time, Mozambique's AFCON dream hung in the balance Benin introduced their veteran star, 39-year-old Stephane Sessegnon, in a last-ditch effort to secure their Afcon qualification.

 The West African side fought valiantly, pushing for an equalizer and keeping Mozambican fans on the edge of their seats.

In a dramatic climax deep into injury time, Mozambique delivered a stunning blow. Geny Catamo orchestrated a brilliant play, setting up Clesio Bauque, who calmly slotted the ball home, sealing a 3-2 victory for Mozambique and sending their supporters into a frenzy of celebration.

Scenes of joyous celebration ensued as fans were delighted to be returning to the continent's showpiece event.

This will be Mozambique's first AFCON appearance since 2010, having previously featured in 1986, 1996 and 1998.

Malawi 2-2 Guinea

Guinea came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Malawi in their final Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.

Robert Saizi put Malawi ahead in Lilongwe, firing home the opener after 23 minutes.

But Guinea turned the game around after the break through Aguibou Camara's thunderbolt and a Serhou Guirassy header.

Lawrence Chaziya earned Malawi a point late on, heading in an 88th minute equaliser.

In a game with little at stake, both nations entertained in an open end-to-end contest.

The result concludes a disappointing qualifying campaign for Malawi, who picked up just two points.

Guinea, who had already sealed qualification from Group D, finish with a solid record of three wins from six.