For the first time ever in 21 clashes spread across 58 years, Republic of Benin beat Nigeria at national team level.
The Squirrels beat the home-based Nigeria Super Eagles 1-0 in the first leg of the 2018 African Nations Championship played in Cotonou on Sunday.
The competition is for domestic league players of the various African countries.
Winners of the encounter played over two legs qualify for the final tournament slated for Kenya in January.
Before Sunday’s encounter, Nigerian teams had often made mince meat of the Squirrels, even in encounters played in Benin Republic.
It is against this western neighbour that Nigeria had their biggest margin victories in football.
One of such was a 10-1 defeat of the country on November 29, 1959 when Benin was then known as Dahomey.
Other landmark results Nigeria has had over Republic of Benin were 7-0 win in 1977 and 1978.
Even in a friendly match with Nigeria’s home-based players in August 2005, Benin Republic still crumbled 6-0 in Abuja.
It was against the backdrop of previous victories in 20 matches that expectations were high that Nigeria would be able to pick a good result in the West Zone B encounter.
It was not to be as Hafiz Aremu brought down a Béninoise player with barely a minute to regulation time.
That was the lifeline Benin Republic needed to create a football history.
Mama Seibou stepped forward and scored from the penalty spot.
Nigeria will now need at least a two-goal margin in the return leg to qualify for the final.
If the team fails, it will be the second time a neighbouring country will eliminate Nigeria.
Niger Republic first did it in 2010, beating Nigeria 2-0 and holding the team to a goalless draw in the return leg played in Kano.
Nigeria Previous 20 Encounters with Benin Republic
P W D L F A
Nigeria 20 15 5 0 61 8
Benin Rep. 19 0 5 15 8 61
• 8 Nov.1959 (Nkrumah Cup) Benin 0-1 Nigeria
• 29Nov.1959(Nkrumah Cup)Nigeria 10-1 Benin
• 25Jan.1963 (Nkrumah Cup) Benin1-1 Nigeria
• 2 Feb.1963 (Nkrumah Cup) Nigeria 4-1 Benin
• 2 Jan.1965 (AAGq) Nigeria 1-1 Benin *Abandoned
• 11 December. 1965 (F) Nigeria 1-0 Benin
• 27 Feb. 1966 (F) Benin) 1 -2 Nigeria
• 20 Dec. 1972 (F) Nigeria 3- 0 Benin
• 14 Feb. 1977 (F) Nigeria 7- 0 Benin
• 14 Jan.1978 (3 AAGq) Nigeria 7-0 Benin
• 17 Jan.1978 (3AAGq) Nigeria 2-0 Benin
• 14 Oct. 1979 (F) Benin 1-1 Nigeria
• 4 Nov. 1979 (F) Nigeria 5-0 Benin
• 1 Feb. 1987 (SCSA) Benin 1-1 Nigeria
• 30 Sept. 1990 (ACNq) Benin 0-1 Nigeria
• 27 April 1991 (ACNq) Nigeria 3-0 Benin
• 2 Feb 2004 (ACN) Benin 1-2 Nigeria
• 10 Aug, 2005 (F) Nigeria 6-0 Benin
• 28 Jan.2008 (ACN) Benin 0-2 Nigeria
• 16 Jan. 2010 (ACN) Benin 0-1 Nigeria
By Kunle Solaja for sportsvillagesquare.com
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