Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye scored the winner as Senegal sealed their place in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 13 years with a narrow victory over Benin.
Gueye combined with Liverpool talisman Sadio Mane on 70 minutes to fashion some space inside the box before sending an effort past Saturnin Allagbe, which represented just reward for a much-improved second-half performance from Aliou Cisse’s side.
As expected, Senegal dominated the first-half but too often their final ball lacked quality and they failed to register a single shot on target before the interval.
The better chances of the opening 45 minutes actually fell to Benin, who, despite playing with little intent, almost opened the scoring with an improvised deft flick from Michael Pote that was inches wide from creeping in at the far post.
After the restart, Huddersfield forward Steve Mounie and then Pote spurned a wonderful chance, while Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis almost scored a comical own-goal.
Senegal finally sprung into life and Mane thought he had broken the deadlock but was adjudged to be just offside before Gueye fired in the opener.
Mane had a second effort ruled out for offside after a VAR check and Benin’s hopes of sending the fixture to extra-time were then dealt a fatal blow when Olivier Verdon was dismissed for a professional foul as Gueye bore down on goal.
Senegal will now play either the uninspiring Tunisia or debutants Madagascar for a place in the showpiece final.