DR Congo oust seven-times winners Egypt after dramatic penalty shootout; Heartbreak for Equatorial Guinea as Guinea snatch late victory

* It wasn’t what we expected. We came up against a tough opponent—Egypt coach, Rui Vitoria

* Stade Laurent Pokou was blazing throughout the 120 minutes the game was played

Maravi Express

DR Congo have knocked out Egypt from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023 after defeating the seven-times champions 8-7 on penalties of the Round of 16 while Mohamed Bayo broke the hearts of Equatorial Guinea with just seconds left on the clock to snatch a late 1-0 victory.


“ It wasn’t what we expected,” said Egypt coach, Rui Vitoria. “We came up against a tough opponent — each team have its strong and weak moments. 

“We’re very sad — we worked hard to go far in the competition. Then there was the penalty shoot-out and that wasn’t our day. In football, there are good times and bad times. 

“Part of the responsibility is mine. We’re going to keep working with this team as long as I am here.”

Stade Laurent Pokou was blazing throughout the 120 minutes the game was played and Meschack Elia scored to put DR Congo into the the lead in the 37th minute — heading home from the six-yard box to score the game’s opening goal. 

The Pharaohs showed what they are made up of by responding to DR Congo’s lead in the first half when they were awarded a penalty after VAR review. Attacker Mostafa Mohamed made no mistake as he converted it into the top right corner. Goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi-Nzau was beaten.


The seven time champions, despite their second half dominance, couldn’t break down the resilient DR Congo defense and the game finally traveled to extra time, the very first one of the tournament in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Egypt were reduced to 10-men in the extra-time after Hamdi Mohamed was sent off following his second yellow card of the game and the numerical disadvantage didn’t prevent Egypt from pressing and creating the chances. 

Game travelled to shootout and Egypt missed twice from the penalty spot, Mostafa Mohamed and goalkeeper, Gabaski both missed their kicks, Arthur Masuaku had  missed his earlier for DR Congo. 

Egypt have twice failed to advance from the Round of 16 in three previous attempts while DR Congo progress having been eliminated in their first knockout game in their two previous appearances (2019 and 2017).


Sebastien Desabre’s men will now face Guinea in the last 8 and the coach said: “I’m very proud of my players. We had a strategy in place to contain this team, but we played too low in the first half.

“I changed it afterwards and we played better. We suffered, but I think Egypt did too. My knowledge of Egyptian football probably helped us. They’re a good team but we were better today. Mentally, I think we were very strong. 

“Now we’ll try to recover well and then we’ll take it match after match, starting with Guinea, our next opponent. 

In the earlier Round of 16, the Guinea derby had all the ingredients of a knockout encounter, with both sides having a go at each other from the onset.

Equatorial Guinea came into the clash with good momentum following their impressive first place finish in a tough Group A consisting of Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria while Guinea snuck into the Round of 16 as one of the four best third finishers of the group stages.

Hero of the day, Mohamed Bayo

With both sides creating chances, a golden opportunity was presented to Equatorial Guinea just after the hour mark when Ivan Salvador was fouled in the box for the in-form Emilio Nsue to step up but saw his penalty denied by the woodwork to the relief of Guinea.

The missed penalty would have been a huge advantage to Equatorial Guinea who were a man-down following the sending off of Frederico Nchama.

With just a few seconds before the end of the ninety minutes, a swift build up by Guinea concluded with Ibrahim Diakite sending a delightful ball into the area which was cleverly headed into the near post by Bayo to seal a place in the quarter-finals for the seventh time in 14 appearances.

Guinea coach Kaba Diawara said: “This victory means a lot. We knew the historic nature of the match. We knew that since 1976, Guinea had not won a knockout match. It’s a feeling of pride.

“There was a lot of criticism, but I knew this group had quality and we proved it today. Everyone prepared well. It’s a group that we built piece by piece and it’s a reward for them and for us also the coaches.

“We now look ahead. We want to go as far as possible. We will wait for the next opponent and we will prepare better.”

His counterpart, Juan Micha said: “We fought until the end but that’s also football. I congratulate the opposing opponent.

“I think we had control at the start of the match but when you have a key player sent off, it becomes difficult, especially if you have an opponent who is putting pressure on you.

“They scored a goal in the last minute, which demoralized us but I congratulate my players, they were good in the match.”—Reporting by CAFonline