Ivory Coast 2-2 DR Congo: Die's effort saves face for cup holders

The African Cup of Nations holders Ivory Coast, spare their blushes as a second-half goal from Serey Die secured a 2-2 draw with DR Congo.

It was Congo who managed to take a shock lead with Neeskens Kebano's opener in the ninth minute. Wilfried Bony had some excellent chances before grabbing the equaliser in the 26th minute, but Junior Kabananga regained Congo's lead two minutes later to round off a great half.

The end-to-end entertainment of the first period carried over into the second, with chances for Simon Deli, Firmin Ndombe Mubele and Cheick Doukoure before Die equalised for the second time to save a point for the holders.      

Off to a good start

Congo had an excellent opportunity to make into the last 16 after their 1-0 victory over Morocco, and couldn't have asked for a better start to the game as they took and early lead.

It was move straight off the training ground as the throw in comes to Kabananga, he teed it up for Kebano who was running into box and smashed it beyond Sylvain Gbohouo and into the bottom corner.

Third time lucky

After falling behind the Elephants began to assert themselves on the game, and Stoke City's Bony had some great chances to grab an equaliser. The first came in the 21st minute as he was on the end of a great ball into the box, Ley Matampi came flying off his line but Bony could only steer it wide.

He was almost handed a goal moments later, when Matampi failed to handle Max Gradel's ball into the box. Fortunately for the keeper Bony wasn't alive to the situation, and he managed to grasp it at the second time of asking.

It seemed that goal was imminent, and Bony made up for his previous failings as he nodded home an equaliser. It was poor from Congo as Bony was left free as Gradel whipped in the corner, and he rose well to head into the corner.

 

 

Back on top

The Ivorians were back in the game for all of three minutes, as Congo managed to regain their lead.

A brilliant ball was sprayed out wide to Mubele, he did well to get the ball into the back post and an unmarked Kabananga was their to turn home the cross.

Searching for the crucial goal

Both sides came out for the second period at the Stade d'Oyem, knowing that the next goal in the clash would be crucial and both had opportunities to grab it.

The substitute Deli almost made an instant impact as he managed to get a touch on Gradel's ball, but he put it wide of the mark.

Mubele was having an excellent tournament so far, and almost had a moment of magic in the 56th minute. He did well to weave his way into the area, but the angle worked against him as he put it high and wide at Matampi's near post.                                                     

Ivory Coast began to look desperate as the game passed thew hour mark, as Doukoure tried one from 30 yards which Matampi managed to palm away from danger.

Equaliser finally arrives

Of the two sides it looked like the next goal would fall to  Michel Dussuyer's men, and they found themselves back in it once again in the 66th minute.

It was an excellent effort from the skipper Die, as he picks the ball up in the middle and powers towards goal. He let rip from some distance, with a big deflection from Marcel Tisserand deceiving Matampi as it nestled in the bottom corner.  

Ivory Coast thought that they had snatched it right at the death, when Salomon Kalou did brilliantly to turn home an excellent ball into the area from Serge Aurier but the flag was rightfully raised for offside.

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