The Democratic Republic of Congo have qualified to the knockout stage of the Chan 2014 following a 2-1 win over Burundi who now bow out of the tourney
The DR Congo are through to the quarterfinals of the 2014 African Nations Championship after shrugging off Burundi challenge by 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Wednesday.
The winners of the Chan inaugural edition in 2009 were third placed with three points in Group D ahead of this match while Burundi were leading the group with four points.
The Leopards began with a bad note when Eric Nukulukuta’s goal was disallowed in the 5th minute for stepping on the arm of Burundi goalkeeper Arthur Arakaza.
Burundi upped the pressure immediately after, with Christophe Bduwarugira whipping a left wing cross for Fiston Abdoul but DR Congo goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba intercepted promptly.
A similar push from the Swallows paid off by the 15th minute when captain Selemani Ndikumana connected a through ball from Fiston and outran his marker before placing his effort to the side of Kidiaba to put the East Africans ahead.
Three minutes later, DR Congo had a chance to pull level after being awarded a penalty but Makusu Mundele's spot kick was blocked by Arakaza. However, the 21-year-old striker would atone for his miss in the 24th minute when he evened the score after firing home a long cross from the edge of Burundi box.
DR Congo multiplied more scary actions in a bid to take the lead but interplays between midfielder Simbi Ebunga and Mundele went futile until the 37th minute when a poor clearance by Yussuf Ndikumana gifted Mundele a ball in the box. And with goalkeeper Arakaza already beaten in the build up action, Mundele chipped his last ditch effort to the far post to claim his brace and put his side ahead 2-1.
The Leopards finished the first half in search of a third goal and came back from the break with same intention but the Swallows stood up to the challenge, missing a rash of chances as well.
Kidiaba denied Burundi a clear cut chance when he parried Gael Duhayindavyi’s attempt from a tight angle as the score stood unchanged at 2-1 by the hour mark.
Jean Kasusula’s effort also failed to get past Burundi keeper Arakaza moments later.
Both sides had countless chances to find each other’s back net in the second half but the game would play out with no further goal event, with DR Congo picking their qualification to the quarterfinals of the 2014 African Nations Championship in South Africa while Burundi crash out following Gabon’s whopping 4-2 win over Mauritania in the group’s other match played at the Free State Stadium in Mangaung.