DR Congo power past Guinea to reach AFCON semi-finals

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DR Congo are through to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals after a dominant 3-1 victory over Guinea in Friday’s quarter-final.

The Leopards came from behind to book a ticket in the last four after defeating their opponents at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara.

The Congolese weathered early pressure from the Syli Nationale before taking control of the tie.

Guinea led through Mohamed Bayo’s 20th minute penalty after he was fouled in the box.

The Guineans were awarded a penalty after Mohamed Bayo fell in the penalty box following a touch from Chancel Mbemba.
A penalty was overlooked initially but after a VAR review, it was awarded. Mohamed Bayo converted calmly to put Guinea into the lead.

But DR Congo captain Chancel Mbemba rose highest to power home an equaliser from a corner just seven minutes later.

After the break, the Leopards turned the screw. Cedric Bakambu should have put them ahead when he missed a golden chance before Sekou Sylla fired off target for Guinea.

The decisive moment came midway through the second half when lively substitute Silas was brought down in the area allowing Yoane Wissa to slot home from the penalty spot.

Guinea were deflated and DR Congo sealed the win late on when Arthur Masuaku fired in a stunning third goal.

It was a commanding performance from the two-time champions who will face either hosts Cote d’Ivoire or Mali in the semi-finals.

Despite defeat, Guinea can take pride from a run that saw them reach the last eight for only the third time in their history.

But DR Congo’s power and quality shone through as they edged closer to a first African crown since 1974.

MATCH FACTS

●       DR Congo have qualified for their sixth semi-final in their history at the Africa Cup of Nations, the second in the 21st century after 2015. The Leopards have won two of their last three quarter-finals in the competition (L1), having won just one of the first six (L5).

●       Guinea have lost for the fifth time in five quarter-finals at the Africa Cup of Nations, the nation with the most appearances at this stage losing each time, ahead of Angola, who lost for the third time in three QFs earlier this Friday.

●       DR Congo are the second nation to score at least 3 goals in an Africa Cup of Nations knockout match with 100% converted shots on target, after Burkina Faso in the edition 2021 (3 goals from 3 shots on target v Cameroon in the 3rd place game).

●       Two penalties were granted in a knockout game at the Africa Cup of Nations for only the second time since 2010, after Senegal-Tunisia in the semi-final of the 2019 edition (also 2).

●       DR Congo conceded just their third penalty in 22 games at the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, the second at the 2023 edition. They have conceded their last two goals at the AFCON from a penalty (Mohamed v Egypt, Bayo tonight), as many times as in their previous 51.

●       Mohamed Bayo scored three of Guinea’s four goals at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, becoming the first Guinean goalscorer in a quarter-final of the tournament since Pascal Feindouno in 2006 (v Senegal). In the 21st century, only… Feindouno (4) has scored more goals in an AFCON edition for Guinea than Bayo (3).

●       Aged 29 years and 178 days, Chancel Mbemba has become DR Congo’s second oldest goalscorer in the Africa Cup of Nations, after Nicodème Kabamba in 1968 (31 years and 167 days v Congo). It is also only the Leopards’ second goal from a corner at the Africa Cup of Nations since 2010, after Mbemba’s goal in 2019 (v Madagascar).

Arthur Masuaku scored DR Congo’s first direct free-kick at the Africa Cup of Nations since Paul-José M’Poku in 2017 (v Togo). The Leopards have become the first team to score three goals from set-pieces in a knockout match at the AFCON since 2010.

Source: cafonline.com

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