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Mounie hat-trick spurs Benin to Africa Cup warm-up win
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 18 - 06 - 2019

Huddersfield Town forward Steve Mounie scored a hat-trick as Benin defeated fellow qualifiers Mauritania 3-1 Tuesday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations warm-up match.
Mounie, whose club was relegated from the English Premier League last season, gave the Squirrels a 1-0 half-time lead in Moroccan city Marrakech.
Moctar El Hacen leveled just after the break from a penalty only for Mounie to score twice more in the final warm-up match for both countries.
Benin are in Group F with defending champions Cameroon, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau while Mauritania face Angola, Mali and Tunisia in Group E.
Despite the confidence-boosting victory Benin coach Michel Dussuyer is keeping expectations low.
"Step number one is to win a match. Benin has never achieved this before in the finals," Dussuyer told reporters after completing their pre-tournament preparations in Morocco.
"Step number two is to qualify to the round of 16, and goal number three is to come home as late as possible."
"It's exciting to confront big nations like that. It is also exciting to participate in the finals of the African Cup of Nations. So there is no apprehension," Dussuyer added.
"There's just the desire to have good matches against these teams, to create problems for them and to have positive results that would allow us to achieve the goals. That will come from the work we have done and also our state of mind.
"We know we do not have the strength of Cameroon or Ghana but we know are able to compete with big teams," he said.
On Monday, a stoppage-time goal from Naim Sliti earned Tunisia a 2-1 win over Burundi near Tunis in another friendly between qualifiers.
All the goals came in the second half with Taha Yassine Khenissi giving the home team a 66th-minute lead that Cedric Amissi canceled.
It was the third Tunisian warm-up success after victories over Iraq and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia.
Angola play South Africa and the Ivory Coast meet non-qualifiers Zambia Wednesday in the final warm-up fixtures.
The Cup of Nations kicks off Friday in Cairo with a Group A match between hosts and title favorites Egypt and Zimbabwe. — Agencies


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