Monday 11 December 2017

Mbokani penalty seals share of spoils for gutsy Congo

Jamie Holland

Congo came back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw with Ghana in the opening game of Group B in the Africa Cup of Nations at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The tournament had gone through nearly five halves of football without a goal after Saturday's two scoreless draws before Emmanuel Agyemang Badu's finely worked strike late in the first half and Albert Adomah's header in the second put Ghana two up.

Having already threatened to take the lead in the first half, Congo rallied after the break, scoring through Tresor Mputu in the 53rd minute before Dieumerci Mbokani's penalty 20 minutes from time.

Congo were inches away from winning after West Bromwich Albion midfielder Yousuf Mulumbu's late shot was clawed away by Ghana goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda.

Ghana's former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan backed his side to recover. "All we have to do is go home and correct our mistakes and come back hungry," he said.

Meanwhile, South Africa coach Gordon Igesund accused his players of losing their nerve in Saturday's draw with Cape Verde Islands in the opening match of the tournament. Igesund expected better from his players in front of a home crowd in Soweto.

"Not too many of my players came to the party in the first half, which I thought was a total waste of time – and we weren't much better in the second," said Igesund. "Some of the players seemed to freeze when the whistle blew and lost their nerve."

Cape Verde coach Lucio Antunes was thrilled with the result. "We dignified our country today. It is a small country of 500,000 people, but we made them proud and have nothing to fear," he said.

Morocco and Angola also shared a 0-0 draw on Saturday.

Africa Cup of Nations,

Live, Eurosport, 3.0/6.0

Irish Independent

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