Chan 2021 Wrap: DR Congo & Congo seal quarter-final berths after wins over Niger and Libya

Prince Mouandza Mapata of Congo challenged by Elmehdi Mohamed Elhouni of Libya.BackpagePix.

DR Congo and Congo sealed their places in the quarter-finals of the African Nations Championship tournament, with 2-1 and 1-0 wins, over Niger and Libya, respectively, to take the first two positions in Group B. 

At the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium Yaounde, goals from Johns Kadima Kabangu and Amede Masasi were enough to seal progression for the Leopards at the expense of their opponents who scored their goal through Mossi Issa Moussa.

It was the Leopards who started the game on a high and they were rewarded after just 27 minutes when Kabangu headed in a cross from the right.

However, the teams were on level terms a minute after the break. The Congolese started the second half slowly and were punished by Moussa, who also headed in a cross after the defenders gave him space in the danger zone. 

With the game tied at 1-1 and seemingly headed for a draw, goalkeeper Abdoul Razak Halidou made a blunder that cost his team a chance in the next round.

He received a back pass and in his attempt to clear, he handed the ball to Masasi who did not hesitate to tap the ball into an empty net and ensure his charges qualified to the next phase of the competition.  

At Japoma Stadium in Douala, the Red Devils capitalized on poor marking to score the winner and take the second position in the group.

The two teams were desperate for a positive outcome to advance to the last eight. Congo almost conceded after just 10 minutes but goalkeeper Pavelh Ndzila off pulled a fine save to deny Muetaz Al Mehdi. 

Four minutes later, it was the turn of the Red Devils to threaten; a good cross in the danger zone found the unmarked Jaures Ngombe in a good area but the player missed the target by inches.

However, the tide changed in favour of Congo in the 52nd minute. The former champions failed to clear a cross from the left and it fell to Cautrand Ngouenimba, who converted to score the only goal of the game.

As a result, DR Congo will now play Cameroon in the quarter-finals to be staged at Japoma Stadium, Douala on Saturday while Congo will be at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on the same day to take on Mali.