• FT

    Namibia

    1

    Morocco

    5

  • FT

    Nigeria

    0

    Ivory Coast

    1

  • FT

    Mali

    1

    Benin

    0

AFRICAN NATIONS CUP

Sekondi-Takoradi Stadium, Ghana

Referee: Damon Jerome | Attendance: 20000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Mali

  • Frederic Kanouté 49' PEN

1 - 0

FT

Mali 1-0 Benin: Eagles win with Kanoute penalty

SEKONDI, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Frederic Kanoute scored with a

penalty as Mali laboured to a 1-0 victory against Benin in the

African Nations Cup on Monday.

The Sevilla striker was brought down by defender Alain

Gaspoz and converted the penalty on 49 minutes in a Group B game

that started 12 minutes later due to a power failure at

Sekondi's brand new stadium.

Mali's Eagles share the lead in Group B with Ivory Coast

after Salomon Kalou gave the Elephants a 1-0 win against Nigeria

earlier on Monday.

The Squirrels banked on solid defending to reach the

interval safely, while Mali enjoyed most of the possession but

failed to trouble their opponents, with Kanoute cut off from the

rest of his team up front.

However, Benin's hopes of earning their first point in their

second appearance in the tournament were squashed four minutes

into the second half with the penalty.

Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch added fresh blood to his front

line by replacing Jocelyn Ahoueya with Wassiou Oladipikpo eight

minutes from time and Stephane Sessegnon, who had come on for

Jonas Oketola, blew two clear chances from close range in the

dying minutes.

Floodlights failed minutes before kickoff as dignitaries led

by Ghana vice-president Aliu Mahama were greeting the players.

The two teams completed their pre-match formalities in the

dark and the match finally got under way 12 minutes late when

the lights came back on.

'We were a bit stressed and it is normal in the first game

of such a competition,' Mali coach Jean-Francois Jodar told a

press conference.

'However, we now have three points and that is what matters.

We are on the right path.'

Man-of-the-match Keita added: 'There was a lot of solidarity

in the team. We saw it when Benin were close to coming back

(into the match) in the last minutes.

'If you want to go all the way in the African Nations Cup,

solidarity is an essential thing.'

Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch said he was pleased with his

team's performance: 'We wanted to reach halftime with a good

result and 0-0 was a good result.

'Then, after the penalty, I had to take a defensive

midfielder out and add creativity in the midfield.'