Congo and Niger played an entertaining 1-1 draw in Group B of the TOTAL African Nations Championship (CHAN) match in Cameroon on Thursday.
The Mena rallied in the second-half to hold the Red Devils who took a first-half lead in the match played at the iconic Japoma Stadium in Douala.
Right-back Prince Mouandza, who plays for Diables Niors, opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a beautiful strike from the edge of the box.
But Niger equalized when substitute Mossi Moussa converted a penalty with 20 minutes remaining after a Congolese defender handled the ball in the box.
The West Africans could have won the match but Adamou Issa and Issa Djibrilla missed good scoring chances late in the game.
The result means two-time winners DR Congo are top of the group with four points while Niger and Libya are tied at second with two points apiece while Congo are bottom of the group with one point.
The two sides were keen on winning the match which made the early exchanges in the match exciting with a free flowing attacking display.
Pavelh Ndzila was forced to make an excellent save with his leg just after five minutes when captain Idrissa Garba and Ibrahim Boubabcar combined well in the box but the latter’s strike brought out the best in the Red Devils goalkeeper.
Moments later Ndzila produced a similar save as he rushed out of his line to prevent the marauding Issa Djibrilla as the winger defenders in outwitted three Congo defenders in the box.
The Red Devils responded with Chris Obongo firing just wide as he approached the Menas goal area before Cervelie Epoyo suffered what looked like a serious injury as he tried to stop Djibrilla from approaching the box.
Razak Seyni demonstrated great awareness in the 23rd minute after Congo’s Gautrand Ngouenimba controlled a long ball but as he prepared to fire in the box, the Niger defender intervened to prevent the winger.
But the Red Devils were not to be stopped when Mouandza got a pass near the centre area before bursting forward to fire impressively beyond goalkeeper Abdoul Razak Halidou.
Niger returned from the break keen on making amends for missing several chances and they continued on that path with Djibrilla and Halidou as chief culprits.
Several substitutions brought some energy to the Nigerien who continued to pile the pressure until the 70th minute when defender Dimitri Bissiki handled the ball in the box.
Moussa picked his spot to dispatch the penalty with aplomb by sending goalkeeper Ndzila the wrong way.
Late attempts by Issa and Djibrilla from a decent scoring position where all wasted to leave Niger going away with just one point.
Congo will play Libya in their final group game at the Japoma Stadium in Douala while DR Congo travel to the capital Yaounde to face Niger in the matches that will be played simultaneously.
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