Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 20 News List

DR Congo finish third after shootout

AFP, MALABO, Equatorial Guinea

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Robert Kidiaba prays during the penalty shootout of their game against Equatorial Guinea at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) defeated Equatorial Guinea 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Malabo on Saturday to finish third at the Africa Cup of Nations.

No extra time was played and Cedric Mongongu converted the decisive penalty after the first play-off since their introduction in 1962 not to produce a goal in playing time.

The play-off passed without incident before a small crowd at the stadium where 48 hours earlier 36 people were injured during crowd violence as Ghana headed for a 3-0 semi-final triumph over the host nation.

The African Football Confederation (CAF) fined Equatorial Guinea US$100,000 and ordered the hosts to pay the medical bills of the people hurt, 14 of whom required hospital treatment.

World soccer body FIFA president Sepp Blatter and CAF president Issa Hayatou, both of whom claimed media coverage of the midweek chaos had been exaggerated, were among those who attended the play-off.

Criticism of the media came despite the objects allegedly used by rioters including a jagged piece of a broken mirror, half a plate, a huge chunk of rock and broken chairs.

DR Congo have appeared twice before in third-place play-offs, losing heavily to hosts Cameroon in 1972 and pipping 1998 hosts Burkina Faso on penalties.

Equatorial Guinea are competing at the Cup for only the second time after exiting at the quarter-finals stage three years ago.

There was little goalmouth action during the opening half, with Crystal Palace and DR Congo winger Yannick Bolasie spurning the best chance five minutes before halftime.

He darted in from the left flank to control a through pass with his chest and leave Iban Iyanga trailing in his wake. After allowing the ball to bounce several times, Bolasie unleashed a hard, rising shot that flew wide of the far post with goalkeeper Felipe Ovono a helpless onlooker.

DR Congo goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba — at 39 the oldest player at this year’s tournament — had rescued the Leopards 10 minutes into the first half.

He blocked a strike from former Real Madrid winger Javier Balboa in a goalmouth scramble and, seconds later, blocked an equally close-range shot from captain and striker Emilio Nsue.

The largely pedestrian half could partly be explained by the oppressive heat, with the mercury touching 33oC for the late afternoon kick-off.

A quicker pace and more goalmouth excitement marked the second half, with Kidiaba and the much younger Ovono kept busy, but as the game reached the three-quarter mark it remained goalless.

There was no lack of endeavor in the closing stages, but no goals either, with selfishness costing DR Congo a good chance three minutes into stoppage time as Lema Mabidi fired well wide with two teammates unmarked.

This story has been viewed 2295 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top