AFCON 2023: Shock as DR Congo knock out giants Egypt to qualify for the quarterfinals


Goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi Nzau scored the winning penalty as DR Congo knocked out giants Egypt 8-7 in post match penalties and qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarterfinals on Sunday night.

The win sees the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remaining on a historic path towards their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in half a century.

Mpasi emerged as the unexpected hero, converting a crucial spot-kick that propelled DRC to the quarter-finals following a tense 1-1 draw.

Early on, Egypt squandered significant opportunities to take the lead, with Ahmed Hegazy and Mostafa Mohamed missing chances.

DRC responded with Théo Bongonda’s near miss from the penalty spot. However, the 1974 champions, buoyed by Meschak Elia’s header, took a 1-0 lead on 37 minutes.

Egypt quickly equalized before halftime, courtesy of a VAR-awarded penalty dispatched by Mohamed, his fourth goal in as many tournament games.

Despite a halftime surge from Egypt, DRC appeared more likely victors in the second half, with Cédric Bakambu and Chancel Mbemba missing crucial chances.

The tightly contested match headed into extra time, where Egypt’s Mohamed Hamdy received a second yellow card, reducing them to 10 men. Both teams struggled to break through, and the deadlock persisted.

The fate of the encounter was ultimately decided by a penalty shootout, reminiscent of Egypt’s 2021 final defeat to Senegal.

After a series of successful spot-kicks, Mpasi’s heroics unfolded when he sent the opposition goalkeeper the wrong way, securing DRC’s place in the AFCON quarter-finals. The Leopards will now face Guinea, while Egypt exits the tournament at the round-of-16 stage for the second time in three editions.

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