DR Congo came from behind to win 3-1 against Guinea, securing a place in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations. The Congolese will face either Mali or hosts Ivory Coasts who play on Saturday evening.
The game got off to a frantic start with Guinea adamantly appealing for a penalty in the first minute before a defensive mix up at the other end presented Yoane Wissa with a golden opportunity from eight yards out, but the Brentford man dragged his shot wide.
As the half went on the game settled slightly until Guinea were awarded a penalty as Congo captain Chancel Mbemba was adjudged to have pushed Guinea striker Mohamed Bayo in the box. After a lengthy delay Bayo kept his cool and confidently despatched the penalty.
However, Guinea’s lead would be short lived as minutes later a DR Congo corner found Mbemba at the back post who brought the ball down before smashing it into the roof of the net with a finish any player would be proud of. Following the mandatory water break the games pace dropped and both sides looked happy to go in level.
The second half was a much slower affair being broken up by constant fouls and substitutions. Yet DR Congo consistently looked more threatening and took the lead through the games second penalty when substitute Silas Mvumpa was tripped after being on the pitch a matter of moments.
Wissa converted the penalty giving DR Congo the lead for the first time on the night. The game was won in the final 10 minutes when former West Ham man Arthur Masuaku spotted the Guinea goalkeeper off his line and struck a clever free-kick which snuck into the near post.
The result sees Congo through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2015.
Talking Point – Can Congo make themselves contenders?
Two times winners DR Congo have not been AFCON champions since 1974 and have reached the semis only twice since then. Les Leopards have looked steady if not electric so far this tournament and had drawn all the games prior to tonight, failing to score more than once in a game.
However, they have tangled with giants like Egypt and Morocco proving they can mix it with the favourites. Could they go all the way and cause an upset for the ages?
Player of the Match – Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo)
The Marseille man and Congo captain got off to rough start in Friday’s game by giving away what some may argue was a soft penalty to Guinea. However, the response the captain can only be applauded.
Just seven minutes later he had his side level with a rocket of a strike and was commanding throughout the rest of the game. Guinea may not have presented the toughest test ever, but he met every cross and gave a captain’s performance when he easily could have crumbled.
DR Congo– Mpasi-Nzau 6, Kalulu 6, Mbemba 8, Baka 7, Masuaku 7, Bongonda 6, Moutoussamy 7, Pickel 6, Ellia 5, Bakambu 5, Wissa 7, Subs: Mvumpa 6, Banza 5, Ditu 5, Tshibola 5,
Guinea – Kone 3, Diakite 4, Diakhaby 6, Jeanvier 6, Sylla 5, Guilavogui 6, Keita 5, Diawara 4, Sylla 5, Bayo 6, Camara 5, Subs: Toure 5, F. Conte 6, Guirassy 6, A. Conte 5, Kamano 5
20’ GOAL! DR CONGO 0-1 GUINEA (BAYO) – The penalty is converted Bayo who keeps his cool after a lengthy wait.
27’ GOAL! DR CONGO 1-1 GUINEA (MBEMBA) – It’s redemption!! The man who gave away the penalty redeems himself with a fabulous finish from the corner. He brings it down at the back post, his touch forces him a little wide but that doesn’t stop the defender from riffling the ball into the roof of the Guinea net!
65’ GOAL! DR CONGO 2-1 GUINEA (WISSA) – Congo are ahead for the first time! The Brentford man takes a slow staggered run up but smashes it low into the bottom left side netting.
82’ GOAL! DR CONGO 3-1 GUINEA (MASUAKU) – That will seal it surely! And no surprise it’s a free kick. Clever from Masuaku who sees the keeper off his line and whips the free kick from outwide straight into the near post!
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