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Nigeria’s World Cup Dreams Dented by Defeat to Benin Republic

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Nigeria’s Super Eagles have experienced their first defeat in the qualifying series for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, succumbing one-two to the Cheetahs of Benin Republic this evening.

Super Eagles took the lead in the 28th minute of the encounter in Abidjan through Raphael Onyedika after a finely executed effort from Samuel Chukwueze.

However, Benin Republic orchestrated a turnaround before halftime, with goals from Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie, stunning the Super Eagles as they headed into the break.

Despite Coach Finidi George‘s strategic attacking substitutions, the Super Eagles couldn’t reclaim parity in the second half.

This outcome places Nigeria in fifth position on the standings with three points, trailing Benin Republic by four points, who currently lead the group pending tomorrow’s fixtures.

The fourth round of Group C games will resume on Tuesday, with Lesotho hosting Rwanda, while Zimbabwe will be guests of South Africa.

Following this, the African leg of the World Cup qualifiers will pause until March 2025.

At the conclusion of the 10-match campaign, all nine group winners are assured a spot in the 2026 finals.

Additionally, another African side could secure qualification through an intercontinental tournament in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

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