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Benin fire warning to Nigeria with draw against African champions Cote d’Ivoire

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By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde

In their first match since clinching the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title by defeating Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire faced Benin Republic in a friendly, resulting in a 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Junior Olaitan opened the scoring for Benin in the eighth minute, but Max Gradel equalized for the Elephants just before the half-hour mark.

Olaitan struck again to put Benin ahead in the 51st minute, assisted by Douko Dodo, before Karim Konate assisted Oumar Diakite for Cote d’Ivoire’s second equalizer.

Benin Republic is scheduled to play against Senegal in another friendly on March 26 and will begin their 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Rwanda on June 5.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, who will face Benin in the World Cup Qualifiers on June 8, has struggled in the initial qualifiers, managing draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

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