Led by skipper Joel Kimwaki, striker Jonathan Bolingi and keeper Ley Matampi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) defeated Guinea 5-4 in spot kicks after normal time had ended 1-1 to advance to the finals of the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) on Wednesday at Amahoro Stadium.
Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi had given the lead in the first of extra time before Ibrahima Sory Sankhon leveled matters with two minutes left on the clock.
Both sides had contradicting stats coming into the semis, Congo had scored 11 goals and conceded five, on the other hand Guinea had scored five and conceded four in six games.
The West Africans had kept back to back clean sheets against Nigeria and Zambia and their defense looked organised against a Congolese attack that asked so many questions.
Congo dominated the first half with possession, Doxa Gikanji and Jonathan Bolingi getting close to find an breakthrough. Guinea’s skipper and Abdoul Aziz Keita did just enough to keep the Congolese at bay but also urge his defense to keep calm.
The last five minutes of the first term belonged to Guinea who penetrated Congo’s back line but custodian Ley Matampi was equally up go the task.
Guinea’s closest opportunity fell to Ibrahima Sory Sankhon, whose well taken free kick was calmly tamed by Matampi’s reflex on the left.
Guinea made some changes in midfield as Aboubacar Sylla came on for Jean Mouste ans with both Maptampi before Congo responded by bringing on Ricky Tulenge for Christian Ngimbi then later Guy Lusadisu came on for Merveille Bope.
With both Matampi and Aziz Keita standing tall in Congo and Guinea’s goals respectively, it was going to take something special to separate these two sides.
Congo’s Mechak Elia on two occasions had the chance to pickup a teammate with ease in the six yard box, but on both attempts decided to rush his crosses, misplacing them in the process.
Guinea brought on Daouda Camara for Moussa Diawara, the former was later released and with Matampi off his line, the Horoya striker missed the target.
With two minutes to full time, Gikanji hit the woodwork in what was Congo’s best chance of the second half, not even the four minutes of added time would separate the two sides as extra time beckoned.
Throughout the tournament, Guinea have retained faith in their two goal hero against Tunisia Alseny Agogo Camara, but in extra he had to pave way for Aboubacar Kile Bangoura.
Congo’s last dice was Miche Mika who came on for Nelson Munganga, before Guinea could plan for the former Bolingi, as he struck with his head, his second of the competition.
Congo were two minutes away from spilling the champagne when Ibrahima Sory Sankhon leveled matters, sending the game into spot kicks. The teams were tied at 3-3 after the mandatory five kicks from both sides and sudden death was needed to get a winner.
Congo eventually advanced 5-4. The 2009 winners have been tipped by many to lift this year’s edition and are 90 minutes from that feat on Sunday against either Ivory Coast or Mali.
Congo Starting XI: Ley Matampi, Joyce Lomalisa, Padou Bompunga, Mechak Elia,Doxa Gikanji, Christian Ngudikama (Ricky Tulenge), Nelson Munganga (Miche Mika), Merveille Bope (Guy Lusadisu), Joel Kimwaki, Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi, Yannick Bangala
Used Subs: Junior Baometu, Zacharie Mombo, Frank Mfuki, Derrick Ngulubi, Christian Ngimbi, Jean Marc Makusu, Guelord Landu, Heritier Nke
Guinea starting XI: Abdoul Aziz Keita, Mohamed Thiam, Ibrahim Sorry Bangoura, Ibrahima Sory Sankhon, Ibrahima Sory Soumah, Moussa Diawara (Daouda Camara), Jean Mouste, Alseny Agogo Camara (Aboubacar Kile Bangoura), Mohamed Youla, Aboubacar Leo Camara
Used Subs: Abdoulaye Keita, Thierno Camara, Boniface Haba, Abdulaye Samake, Aboubacar Mouctar Sylla, Aboubacar Sylla, Alseny Camara, Issiaga Camara, Nouhan Conde