Vie. Feb 23rd, 2024

Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal missed his penalty in the shootout as the Congo DR claimed an epic 8-7 victory following a tense 1-1 draw in their Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash in San Pedro on Sunday.

Abou Gabal clipped the crossbar with his effort and opposite number Lionel Mpasi scored against him. Seven-time winners Egypt bowed out at the Laurent Pokou Stadium, sparking jubilant scenes for the Congolese, who now play Guinea in the quarterfinals in Abidjan on Friday.

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Meschack Elia gave Congo DR the lead in the game when he headed in virtually on the goal line, but the advantage lasted nine minutes before Mostafa Mohamed scored his fourth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Egypt midfielder Mohamed Hamdy received a red card in extra time, after which The Pharaohs, without injured talisman Mohamed Salah, stopped attacking and held on as the game went to a shootout.

The last time Congo DR beat Egypt in a Cup of Nations clash was in the semifinals 50 years ago when they went on to lift the trophy.

It was a fourth draw in a row for both sides in the Ivory Coast this year, while for Egypt it was a sixth in a row dating back to the last tournament in Cameroon and a fifth extra-time in succession in knockout games.

Congo players celebrate after beating Egypt in a shootout at the Africa Cup of Nations.

That lack of a killer touch came back to haunt them as they could not finish the game in the 90 minutes, and once Hamdy received his marching orders it was always going to be a battle in the sweltering heat of San Pedro.

DR Congo took the lead on 37 minutes when Yoane Wissa’s deflected cross from the left was headed over the line by Elia. The goal emanated from a quick throw that Egypt felt should have been theirs, and as such were slow to react when the Congolese re-started play.

But Egypt levelled in first-half injury time when Congolese defender Dylan Batubinsika struck the face of Ahmed Hegazi with an extended arm during an aerial dual in the penalty box, and a spot kick was awarded after a VAR review.

In the absence of Salah, Abou Gabal stepped up to confidently convert and net his fourth goal of the tournament, though he would later miss in the shootout.

Abou Gabal became the first Egyptian player to score in their first four matches at a Cup of Nations finals, and the third to score in four matches overall after Ali Abo Gresha (1974) and Gedo (2010).

Congo DR striker Cedric Bakambu turned a cross wide of the post when well-placed early in the second half, and Chancel Mbemba headed over moments later as the game went to extra time and ultimately spot kicks.

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