DR Congo 3-0 Mali: Elia inspires Leopards to African Nations Championship glory

The CS Don Bosco rookie’s brace was enough to separate the two teams and give Florent Ibenge’s men the African title
DR Congo defeated Mali 3-0 at the Amahoro Stadium, Kigali to lift the African Nations Championship diadem for the second time in history.

Meschack Elia’s brace plus Jonathan Bolingi’s effort were enough to subdue the Malians who came with the intention of winning their first title.

The tournament's outstanding team repeated their fluency and brilliance of their semi-final romp against Guinea, and found another sumptuous moment during the encounter.

After four minutes, the Mombo-Elia partnership almost yielded dividends with Elia heading wide from a Mombo assist.

The Congolese continued to pile pressure on the Malians and after failing to break through the West Africans backline, Elia and Mombo swapped positions. Elia moved to the left and Mombo going the other way. 

And it will yield results on 29 minutes when Bolingi headed to Elia who fired a thunderbolt that left Mali goalie Djigui Diarra with no option for the opener. 

Mali nearly responded six minutes later but Ley Matampi was to his side’s rescue saving Aliou Dieng’s long range effort before collecting calmly the rebound from Mamadou Coulibaly.

Mali resumed stronger in the second half but found the Congolese defence which revolved around captain Joel Kimwakji and Yannick Bangala a mountain too tall to climb.

DR Congo resorted to counter attacks making the most of the pace of Elia. The 19-year old, after profiting from a through pass on the counter beat his marker and rounded Diarra before firing into the yawning net on 61 minutes.

The Congolese took the game beyond the Malians with the third goal through Bolingi in the 73rd minute who finished off a superb solo move by Joyce Lomalisa from the left, with a low shot past Diarra.