Niger and Burkina Faso reached the semifinals of the WAFU “B” U-20 Championship on Friday, after Group A matches were concluded.
The host nation Benin crashed out of the tournament, after they were handed a shock 1-0 defeat by Burkina Faso at the Stade Charles De Gaulle in Porto Novo.
In the other match played simultaneously, Niger advanced despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Togo at the Rene Pleven Stadium in Cotonou, while Togo was eliminated.
However, the major focus of the day was at the commercial capital of the hosts, where both sides had a good chance of qualifying going into the final round of group matches.
Benin were confident of defeating their opponents, and with the backing of their home crowd they went into the game as favorites and dominated the early exchanges with an impressive passing display.
But they were undone by Yves Clovis Ouedraogo 54th minute strike. Despite a late flurry of attacks by the home side, the Burkinabe stood resolute to seal the victory.
Niger had a huge advantage of advancing to the last four ahead of Friday’s game and they raced into the lead in their clash with Togo.
The U-20 Mena controlled most of the exchanges at the start, and Abdoul Malik Moustapha scored with an outstanding lob over the Togolese goalkeeper from outside the box on 16 minutes.
Togo fought back after the break, pinning their opponents to their half until Karim Dermane scored just after the hour mark.
The Togolese fought with their lives during the last 15 minutes, but the tall Nigerien defenders were equal to the task of the long aerial balls.
Niger and Burkina Faso will wait for the outcome of Saturday’s Group B match between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to know their opponents in the semi-finals of the competition.