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AFCON: DR Congo Advances After Beating Egypt On Penalties

DR Congo beat Egypt on 8-7 on penalties to advance to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), after both sides played out a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, at the Stade Laurent Pokou in San Pedro, Côte D’Ivoire.

Egypt were still without talisman Mohamed Salah, with Mostafa Mohamed leading the line while Zizo and Mahmoud Trezeguet were on the flanks. For DR Congo, Cedric Bakambu featured in attack, with Yoane Wissa and Meschack Elia supporting on the wings.

Winger Elia scored to put DR Congo into the the lead in the 37th minute. He headed home from the six-yard box to score the game’s opening goal.

The Pharaohs showed what they are made up of by responding to DR Congo’s lead in the first half.

Egypt were awarded a penalty after VAR review. Striker Mostafa Mohamed made no mistake as he converted it into the top right corner as goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi-Nzau was beaten.

Despite Egypt’s dominance in second half, the Pharaohs could not break down the resilient DR Congo defence as the games finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. Game went to extra time, the very first one of the tournament in Côte D’Ivoire.

Egypt were then reduced to 10-men in the extra-time after Hamdi Mohamed was sent off following his second yellow card of the game.

However, the numerical disadvantage didn’t prevent Egypt from pressing and creating the chances. Both sides could not find the net in extra time as the game went to a penalty shootout.

Egypt missed twice from the penalty spot, with Mostafa Mohamed and goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal both missed their kicks. DR Congo’s Arthur Masuaku had missed his penalty kick earlier.

However, DR Congo won 8-7 on penalties and progressed to the quarter-finals.

Egypt have twice failed to advance from the Round of 16 in three previous attempts, while DR Congo progress having been eliminated in their first knockout game in their two previous appearances (2019 and 2017).

DR Congo will now face Guinea in the last 8 after they defeated Equatorial Guinea 1-0.

“I’m very proud of my players. We had a strategy in place to contain this team, but we played too low in the first half,” DR Congo coach Sébastien Desabre said. “I changed it afterwards and we played better. We suffered, but I think Egypt did too.”

“My knowledge of Egyptian football probably helped us. They’re a good team but we were better today. Mentally, I think we were very strong. Now we’ll try to recover well and then we’ll take it match after match, starting with Guinea, our next opponent.”

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