DR Congo

Egypt were on Sunday knocked out of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against the Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo, while Guinea progressed to the last eight.

Record-seven-time champions Egypt lost 8-7 on penalties against the Congolese after their last-16 tie ended 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Meschack Elia put DR Congo ahead in the Ivorian coastal city of San-Pedro in the 37th minute, only for Mostafa Mohamed to equalise for Egypt from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time.

DR Congo

With no further scoring, Egypt held on for a shoot-out after having Mohamed Hamdy sent off for a second booking in the first half of extra time.

They were involved in three shoot-outs in four knockout ties at the last AFCON in Cameroon two years ago when they lost the final on penalties to Senegal.

Mohamed missed the target with the Pharaohs’ second kick, but Arthur Masuaku then squandered the Leopards’ next attempt.

Egypt goalkeeper, Mohamed Abou Gabal, better known as Gabaski, then put Egypt’s ninth penalty over, and DR Congo goalkeeper, Lionel Mpasi, made no mistake to take DR Congo through to the quarter-finals.

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It is a bitter pill for the Egyptians, who had come to Cote d’Ivoire hoping to win a first AFCON since 2010, a year before Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, made his senior international debut.

But they stumbled out of their group with three draws and lost the Liverpool superstar to a hamstring injury in their second game against Ghana.

He had gone back to his club to continue treatment, in the hope of being able to return for the latter stages of the competition, but now his dream of winning the title with his country remains on hold.

Meanwhile, it is the first time DR Congo have won a knockout tie at the tournament since reaching the semi-finals in 2015.

Sebastien Desabre’s team will head to Abidjan for a quarter-final on Friday against Guinea, who beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 earlier with a dramatic winner by Mohamed Bayo in the eighth minute of injury time.

The match at the Ebimpe Olympic Stadium was also heading for extra time when Bayo, of French side Le Havre, headed in a cross by Ibrahim Diakite to spark frenzied celebrations among the Guinea team and their large support in a crowd of 36,340.

It was a historic moment for the Syli National, who had never previously won an AFCON knockout tie – they were runners-up in 1976, in an era when the final four played a round-robin format to decide the winner of the trophy.

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire take on reigning champions Senegal on Monday in Yamoussoukro, after Cape Verde face Mauritania in Abidjan.

The Star



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