DR Congo defeated new timers Mauritania 1-0 in Group D opener in Polokwane on Tuesday
The Democratic Republic of Congo humbled Mauritania 1-0 in Group D's first match at the ongoing African Nations Championship at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane in South Africa on Tuesday.
Eddy Emomo’s spot kick effort sealed the 2009 winners’ triumph over the West Africans, who had their captain Moussa Sidi Bagayoko sent off after bagging two yellow cards.
The Leopards quickly engaged the Mauritanians who were appearing for the first time in a Caf competition.
The Mourabitones suffered early domination from the Congolese but survived the heat thanks to a massive defending strategy and a vigilant goalkeeper Brahima Souleymane, who parried most of the balls that leaked through his back line.
Emomo’s close range header from a free kick could have put the central Africans ahead by the 10th minute but it narrowly missed the target.
After 25 minutes, the game delved into a rugged session as players from both sides challenged each other with aggression, prompting two yellow cards for Mauritania and the expulsion of DR Congo coach Santos Muntubile to the stands following ceaseless complaints to the match commissioner.
Ely Cheikh Voulany of FC Nouadhibou was a thorn in the flesh of DR Congo defence during the later part of the first half, but he kept failing to find a breach. His perfect right wing cross for unmarked Gaye was thwarted by a prompt intervention from Kidiaba.
Mauritania finished the first half stronger than they began it amid a global domination from the Congolese.
The Mourabitones came back from the break still looking fresh and determined and immediately grabbed the session’s first corner kick.
But things would turn awful for them when DR Congo striker Jean Marc Mundele was tripped in the Mauritanian box while waiting to claim a right wing cross, handing his side a penalty which was transformed by Eddy Emomo to put the Leopards ahead after 51 minutes.
Issues got compounded for Mauritania as captain Moussa Sidi Bagayoko was shown a second yellow card for a rough tackle in the last quarter of the game.
With one goal and one man down, the West Africans continued to push their play, recording half a dozen strikes on target, which unfortunately failed to get past Kidiaba until the final whistle.
DR Congo showed more experience and better ball control, but Mauritania had more goal chances across the encounter.