Madagascar’s maiden African Cup of Nations campaign continues after they beat two-time winners DR Congo 4-2 on penalties, having shared four goals in 120 minutes.
Though strikes from Ibrahim Amada and Faneva Ima Andriatsima were each cancelled out by Cedric Bakambu and Chancel Mbemba, they held their nerve in the shootout to keep their dream alive as Yannick Bolasie cost his side in the end.
While Congo had more quality on paper, Madagascar had form on their side, and they started like a team unbeaten in the tournament so far. Amada’s excellent strike from distance gave them a deserved lead after nine minutes.
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Their pressing was frustrating Congo, who couldn’t get going. But out of nothing 11 minutes later, after a pinpoint cross from Ngonda Muzinga, Bakambu snatched an equaliser and his third goal of the tournament.
Ngonda was again heavily involved as Congo missed a golden chance to take the lead; former Newcastle United defender Mbemba couldn’t keep his effort down after he was found by the left-back’s cross at the back post.
The game followed a similar pattern in the second half and Madagascar thought they’d won it with 13 minutes remaining when Andriatsima headed home Romain Metanire’s cross, but third time lucky, Mbemba converted from a corner in the final minute to set up extra time.
He almost scored again early after the restart, but another header was saved by Melvin Adrien. The game ended in penalties, and Madagascar progressed to the quarter finals after Bolasie’s miss from the spot.

TALKING POINT

Rookies' dream continues: Madagascar made their debuts in this year’s African Cup of Nations, and just that in itself has served as vindication of their meteoric rise in the last few years. They came into this game having won two and drawn one of their three games so far, and they started with great confidence. Despite being pegged back twice, Madagascar still believed and kept their cool in the shootout to go through without a single miss.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Ibrahim Amada (Madagascar): Amada scored an absolute stunner early on in the game to set Madagascar on their way, before doing the same in the shootout. He won his battles all night and kept his side ticking over; Congo couldn’t get a foothold in midfield and he was a huge part of that. A mightily impressive display.

PLAYER RATINGS

Madagascar: Adrien 6, Mombris 7, Fontaine 6, Razak 6, Metanire 7, Amada 8, Andrianantenaina 6, Raveloson 6, Andrea 6, Andriatsima 6, Lalaina 6 Substitutes: Dax 5, Caloin 5, Morel 5, Njiva n/a
DR Congo: Matampi 6, Ngonda 7, Tisserand 6, Mbemba 6, Issama Mpeko 6, Maghoma 6, Moke 5, Mulumbu 5, Akolo 5, Bakambu 7, Assombalonga 6 Substitutes: Meschak 7, Bope 5, Bolasie 6, M’Poku 5

KEY MOMENTS

9’ - GOAL! Madagscar 1-0 DR Congo. Madagascar lead! Amada with an absolutely superb strike! You can't say they don't deserve it.
21’ - GOAL! Madagscar 1-1 DR Congo. Bakambu gets his third of the tournament to equalise with a superb header. 1-1. Great cross.
77- GOAL! Madagscar 2-1 DR Congo. Andriatsima heads in from close range!! 2-1 Madagascar!
90’ - GOAL! Madagscar 2-2 DR Congo. Mbemba heads home from a corner. He had a free header and makes no mistake. Heartbreak for Madagascar.

KEY STAT

DR Congo were denied a fourth-straight quarter final appearance.
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