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DRC IN THE LAST EIGHT: Leopards Dispatch Egypt On Penalties To Reach Quarter-final Stage

DR Congo have reached the quarter-finals of the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations after edging Egypt 8-7 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San Pédro.

Leopards goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi Nzau put up an heroic performance as he scored the spot-kick that sent Sebastien Desabre’s charges in the last eight of the tournament.

Swiss-based winger Meshack Elia of BSC Young Boys, starting in placed of the injured Gaël Kakuta, scored the opener in the 37th minute after some clever play by Yoane Wissa to put the Leopards in front.

The Pharaohs were then handed a golden chance to restore parity in the 42nd minute as the referee pointed to the spot after VAR review showed defender Dylan Batubinsika had fouled Ahmed Hegazy in the penalty area.

Mostafa Mohamed stepped up from the penalty spot and sent Mpasi the wrong way to level the scores for the record seven-time African champions going into the interval.

The two sides battled it out with caution in the second-half with either side occupying their areas carefully to avoid conceding and sent the match into extra time.

In extra-time, Egypt were hit with a blow as Mohamed Hamdy was sent off after catching substitute Simon Banza in what was a second bookable offence for the defender.

The Leopards dominated the reminder of extra time but could not capitalize on their advantage as ten-man Egypt held to see the match decided by the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Striker Mostafa Mohamed who equalized from the spot was not as lucky in the shootout as he missed his kick as well as goalkeeper Gabaski.

Arthur Masuaku missed from the spot for the Leopards but was bailed out by goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi who converted the final spot to see the two-time African champions through to the last eight.

DR Congo will now meet Guinea in the quarter-finals on Friday, 2nd February at the Olympique Stadium of Ebimpé in Abidjan.

The Syli Nationale of Guinea left it late to beat Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in their Round of 16 clash played earlier in Abidjan.

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