In a stunning turn of events, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) emerged victorious in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, defeating Guinea with a convincing 3-1 scoreline on Friday.
Mohamed Bayo kicked off the scoring in the 20th minute, converting a penalty with precision, leaving Guinea’s goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi-Nzau with no chance. However, DRC skipper Chancel Mbemba quickly redeemed himself for an earlier mistake by equalizing in the 27th minute, leveling the playing field.
Referee Mustapha Ghorbal awarded another penalty, this time in favor of DRC, as Yoane Wissa was tripped inside the box. Wissa stepped up and successfully secured the lead for DRC.
Defender Arthur Masuaku sealed the victory for DRC with a skillfully executed free-kick, catching goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone off guard.
Despite being labeled as underdogs, DRC has emerged as one of the tournament’s surprise packages, securing a spot in the semi-finals. Coach Sebastien Desabre, hailed by DRC supporters, has guided the team to its first semi-final appearance since 2015.
With a 100% record in the Afcon final, having claimed the trophy twice before, DRC is now poised to make history, potentially joining Nigeria as the only teams to win the Afcon three times.
Guinea’s captain, Naby Keita, despite his European experience with Liverpool, couldn’t inspire his nation to the semi-finals, ending their Afcon journey.
Looking ahead, DRC will closely monitor the outcome of the match between hosts Ivory Coast and Mali on Saturday, as they await their opponent in the semi-finals. The Leopards are now positioned as strong contenders, eyeing a triumphant return to the Afcon final.