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Africa Cup of Nations
Africa Cup of Nations
January 24, 2013
• Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: B. El Ahrach
• Attendance: 12000
That is it from me! Be sure to stick with Goal.com for all the post-match news and analysis. Thank you for joining us this evening. My name is Tom Webber and it has been a pleasure to guide you through the action. Have a great evening.
Some resolute defending from Niger means they remain in with a shout of qualifying from Group B, though they will need to beat Mali and hope Ghana can do them a favour against DR Congo.
FULL TIME: Niger 0-0 DR Congo - In a game that could have gone either way, a point is probably the most fair outcome in the this Group B encounter. Sidibe hit the post for Niger early on but Mbokani was denied twice by an in-form Daouda.
90' + 6'
The final whistle goes!
90' + 4'
HOW IS IT STILL LEVEL!! Niger go through with a three-on-two situation but Talatou tries to bend in an effort but Kidiaba is equal to it. It could well have been a different story if he had slid a pass into the free Maazou there. Deary me, that was poor decision-making.
90' + 2'
Talatou pings it in from the right and it is flicked across goal by Issoufou, but none of his team-mates make a run to connect with it.
90' + 1'
Issa Modibo Sidibé
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional five minutes! And now Niger have a corner...
Almost disastrous decision from Daouda there as he rushes out of goal to close Mbokani. He leaps forwards and manages to get a hand on the ball to stop the Anderlecht man from having a potential tap in.
Yellow Card Mbokani
I'm still harbouring hope of some late drama in Port Elizabeth. DR Congo look the most likely to snatch something, but if they over-commit they could be caught out by Niger.
Superb tackle from Dan Kowa! The centre-back comes across as the last man and beats Mbokani to the ball and sees it out for a throw in. If he had miss-timed that it could have been awful.
For the first time this half Niger look truly stretched as the Leopards add a bit of pace to a break. Kanda drives down to the byeline and cuts inside where he is brought down by the defender. He sends in the free kick but the defence are able to deal with it.
Yellow Card William Tonji Ngounou
So close for Mbokani! The Anderlecht man is once again the driving force for DR Congo as he comes in from the left with a neat one-two. He goes for another with a second team-mate but the return pass is a tad too heavy for him and he cannot bring it under control.
William Tonji Ngounou
Just 13 minutes remaining now. Are we heading for the first 0-0 draw since the opening day of the competition or are we going to be treated to some late drama? I am desperately hoping for the latter.
Koudize is down with an injury but refuses to take the stretcher off the pitch. Looks like he took a knee to very, very painful area there. Credit to him for not kicking up too much of a fuss.
Lancina sends a long throw in into the box but Maazou is unable to get on the end of it. There was a lack of commitment to make something of that there.
Kanda's searching pass is not dealt with by the Mena defence and the ball falls to Mbokani in the area. He spins and tries to thread a cross into the middle of the box but it is intercepted and cleared away. He needs help if DR Congo are going to make something happen.
Niger are getting all but one player back behind the ball when not in possession. It is no surprise that the Leopards are struggling to break them down!
Mputu manages to get a shot away for Claude Le Roy's team but he drags it well and truly wide of the goal.
Mbokani seems to be the only DR Congo player with enough urgency to worry the Niger defence. He passes to Kanda on the left but the second-half substitute plays a wayward pass straight to Chikoto. So wasteful.
DR Congo are certainly not looking like the huge favourites that they were touted as before kick off. So far Niger have given a good account of themselves with some stout defending coinciding with relatively adventurous attacking play.
MAAZOU AGAIN!! Niger have stepped it up a level this half and another great cross from the left finds Maazou at the back post. He rises over the defender and nods the ball back across goal but Kidiaba dives to his right and plucks the attempt down.
Fantastic play from Mbokani but Mputu cannot quite reciprocate. After the Anderlecht man controlled the ball brilliantly and laid it off to his team-mate, Mputu could not wrap his foot around the pass to play the striker in.
Yet another mistake from DR Congo allows Niger to break and threaten the opposing box. Koudize picks it up but takes a moment too long to thread a pass up to Maazou. The former CSKA Moscow man is then swarmed upon by blue shots and he fails to get an attempt on target.
Maazou comes to life for the first time this half as Niger work the ball out to him from the left. He thumps a powerful, yet controlled shot at goal but Kidiaba gets his body behind it and diverts it behind.
Thank you for your comments on Twitter during the interval. Some contradicting predictions out there - @Tobikino thinks that DR Congo will emerge as 2-0 winners while @illbreez is predicting a draw! Do you agree?
DR Congo have settled on the ball almost immediately again. Kabangu remains to appear their most threatening outlet on the right. If he can find the head of Mbokani with a cross then the Leopards have every chance of finding the net.
One substitution for either side at the break. Lua Lua is off for DR Congo despite a decent first half while Issoufou has been replaced by Boubacar for Niger.
Welcome back! We have just begun the second 45 minutes of this Group B encounter.
HALF TIME: Niger 0-0 DR Congo - It remains all square at the break after a rather tepid first half. Some erroneous passing was the source of the two best chances, in which Sidibe hit the post for the Mena before Mbokani was twice denied by Daouda. Join me for the second half in 15 minutes and in the meantime send me your thoughts via Twitter @thwebber.
45' + 1'
We are into the first of two additional minutes.
Issama plumps for an ambitious effort after a brief foray into the opposing half but his low shot from 35 yards never looked like getting the better of the Niger keeper.
TOP SAVE!! How DR Congo have not scored there I cannot comprehend! A loose ball puts the Leopards three-on-one in the final third. Mbokani plays a quick give-and-go with Mputu but Daouda rushes out and gets his body in the way of the shot. Fantastic save.
Yellow Card Maazu
Kasusula makes a rare venture up the pitch on the left flank and manages to work a yard to whip in a cross. It is a lofty delivery and gives Daouda plenty of time to come off his line and claim the ball.
Kabangu has been very impressive for the Leopards down that right flank, perhaps even his side's best player in the first half. He has moved forwards regularly and put in a number of tempting crosses for the strikers.
JUST WIDE!! Lua Lua tries to bend an effort on goal with his left but he cannot get it past the first defender. The ricochet falls kindly for Mulumbu but he fails in his attempts to steer the ball into the bottom corner, guiding it wide of the post.
Chikoto can breathe a sigh of relief as after swinging for the ball and completely mishitting hit, he spins around and still manages to clear the ball away before the DR Congo forwards chase him down. Lucky boy.
A decent little move for the Leopards on the edge of the area but they cannot find a channel in the Niger defence through which they can send the ball.
Stat attack: Niger have the least amount of European-based players in the squad of any nation in AFCON 2013.
Mbokani drifts out to the left now as he looks to initiate something threatening for his side. But for now the Mena are remaining resolute and keeping space to a minimum for their opponents.
DR Congo are starting to lose concentration in defence again and another pass goes astray inside their own half. Sidibe and Maazou are unable to link up and find a way in behind the defence, though.
A cross from the right is aimed at Maazou as he lurks near the back post but Kidiaba comes out and claims the delivery before the striker can even get off the ground to challenge.
So we are midway through the game and I think the best way to look at it is that things are only going to get better! neither side has really taken control of the match yet, and you get the feeling there is not going to be much in it.
No chance from there! Another error gifts Niger the ball in the opposing half. Bachard picks it up and has options either side, but he instead decides to go it alone and produces a shot that never looks like worrying the keeper.
Lua Lua tries his luck with a mazy run through the middle of the park. Niger do well to close in numbers though, and the former Newcastle United man cannot wriggle through the three shirts that close him down.
Both sides have been guilty of playing a number of reckless passes so far this evening. Distribution has not been of the highest the quality.
However, the Niger keeper will need to do a lot to not be upstaged by his counterpart at the other end of the pitch. DR Congo's Kidiaba probably has the most ridiculous haircut in the tournament, perhaps even in international football.
FANTASTIC SAVE!! Kabangu flights in an awesome cross from the left, which is controlled by Mbokani after he ghosted away from his marker. He shoots as the ball drops, looking for the far corner, but Daouda manages to get down and palm it behind.
One pass from the midfield catches the Niger defence offside and Mbokani races through on his own. He holds possession up and awaits the arrival of his team-mates, but they lack the urgency to get forward and support him.
Lua Lua seeing a lot of the ball in the early stages. He picks it up on the left and drives towards the byeline. However, his attempt to stick a cross into the middle is thwarted by Dan Kowa, how diverts the ball behind for a corner.
A goal there could well have put the Mena on their way to a first-ever AFCON victory. DR Congo have responded by getting their foot on the ball and knocking it about in the deep areas.
Another wayward effort from Lua Lua as he screws a volley wide from Mputu's knock-down. If he finds the net tonight, do you think he can still pull off the countless back flips and somersaults like in his days with Newcastle United?
NIGER HIT THE POST!! A glorious chance goes begging! Mulumbu sells Mabiala short in the middle of the park and Sidibe pounces to poke the ball away from the defender. He looks to bend a shot into the far corner but his shot comes back off the post. A real let off for the Leopards.
A decent start from DR Congo as Mbokani stands up his defender in the area before clipping a deep cross towards the back post. Lua Lua is waiting there but opts for power from an acute angle and ends up blasting the ball well over the goal.
And we are off in Port Elizabeth! Niger in all-white are shooting from right to left. DR Congo are kitted out in blue and red.
Keep an eye on Dieumerci Mbokani for DR Congo tonight. The Anderlecht striker has netted 15 goals in 15 Belgian league games. He also has Champions League goals against Zenit and Malaga to his name.
What are your thoughts and predictions for this evening's match up? Let me know via Twitter @thwebber.
The national anthems are currently ringing around the stadium. Kick off is just a few moments away. Defeat for Niger will see them eliminated from the competition.
DR Congo: Kidiaba; Kasusula, Mongongou, Mabiala, Mpeko; Mulumbu, Makiadi, Kabangu; Mputu, LuaLua, Mbokani.
The teams are in, and we will start with the 'hosts', Niger: Daouda; Chikoto, Fatoukouma, Kowa, Bachar; Koudize, Soumaila, Lancina, Issoufou; Sidibe, Maazou.
This will be the first ever meeting between these two nations. Niger are still relative newcomers to this stage, while the Leopards have won the title two times in total. However, they have not been quite as successful in recent years - they last lifted the trophy in 1974.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary on today's last African Cup of Nations game as Niger and DR Congo lock horns in Port Elizabeth. My name is Tom Webber and I will be here to guide you through all the action this evening.
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