At the end of the suspense and endless penalty shootouts, DR Congo beat Egypt (1-1, 8-7 tab) in the Round of 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations, Saturday, at San Pedro Stadium. It will face Guinea in the quarter-finals.
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Experience versus negligence. Egypt and its seven titles in the African Cup of Nations, a model of continuity in the competition, against the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a team in the stage of complete rebuilding, but impressive in its physical strength.
This was the official poster for Round 16 of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, on Saturday 28 January at the Estadio Laurent Bouco in San Pedro. An inconclusive meeting between two teams that narrowly exited the groups after each of them tied in three matches.
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Without star striker Mohamed Salah, injured and undoubtedly cursed in the African Cup, nor starting goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy, who also missed the rest of the competition, Egypt did not present itself at its best.
So the Panthers tried to take advantage of the start, and they launched a quick attack, but Elijah's shot ended up high (3rd). The Pharaohs responded by creating the first opportunity in the match with a free kick, but Hegazy's header hit the crossbar (8).
Elijah scores first
After a quarter of an hour of steadfastness, the Democratic Republic of Congo decided to display its physical strength, and increased the number of incursions into the Egyptian area and free kicks. But there is still – and always – a lack of precision in the final gesture. Egypt held firm and also relied on free kicks, such as Zizou’s free kick, in which Mbassi excelled (36).
We have to find the solution to open the scoreboard, and through mischief the Panthers achieve that. When the Egyptians turned to the referee to object to the throw-in, Masuaku played the ball quickly and found Wessa alone on goal. His cross was blocked, but Elia finished it off with a header (37, 1-0).
There is no time to enjoy the Panthers, because during the Egyptian attack, the referee is alerted and VAR is consulted: Batubinsika put his arm in Hegazy's face in an aerial duel. penalty. Mustafa Mohamed calmly transferred the ball to Mbasi (45 + 1, 1-1) and took the opportunity to move closer to one point in the scoring charts of Equatorial Guinean Emilio Nso, who had just been eliminated.
The Panthers returned from the locker room, most likely determined, but Bakambu's attempt hit the post (53). An hour later, it was the Pharaohs who regained the upper hand, but Mbasi saved his team against Zizou (61), and then reassured himself again against Attia (64).
The end of the match gets even more chaotic, and the changes don't change anything. It seems like the players are slowly but surely heading towards extra time. The Egyptians try to repeat the same movement as in the first period, but they do not succeed. Hamada fails to recover Zizou's cross (85), and Mbassi hits the last corner in regular time (90+5).
..and unbearable suspense
From the beginning of extra time, Hamdi received a card for a very late intervention on Panza (96). It is the second, and Egypt must finish the match while outnumbered. Then the DRC thought it had its chance and increased its attacks in the Egyptian camp. But the Pharaohs, for their part, play “on experience”: Gabalski, after his absence, remains on the ground for long minutes, and Marmoush rolls over after a strong but correct touch… Everything is good for the match to extend until the shots reach the goal.
In this small match, the Democratic Republic of the Congo won, after an endless session in which nine archers were eliminated. Congolese Mbasi won this encounter at a distance from the goalkeepers, when Gabaski saw his shot bounce off the crossbar. Undaunted, the Leopards confirmed their ticket to the quarter-finals, where they will face Guinea on Saturday.
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