DR Congo pulled off a stunning upset in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Round of 16, conquering the mighty Egypt 8-7 on penalties after a nerve-wracking 1-1 draw on Sunday night.
Elia Meschak fired DR Congo into the lead in the 37th minute, his strike igniting the passionate Congolese supporters. However, Egypt responded fiercely just before halftime, with Mostafa Mohamed converting a penalty in injury time to level the score.
Despite relentless attacks from both sides, neither team managed to break the deadlock in regular time or extra time. The drama intensified when Egypt’s Mohamed Hamdi received a second yellow card in the 97th minute, reducing the Pharaohs to ten men.
The penalty shootout was a tense affair, with both teams trading goals until the very last kick. Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed Gabaski’s miss proved to be the turning point, paving the way for DR Congo’s Lionel Nzau Mpasi to score the decisive penalty, sending the Leopards into a frenzy of celebration.
Nzau Mpasi, the DR Congo goalkeeper, consistently excelled, making crucial saves during the entire game. His leadership and composure proved invaluable, especially after Egypt’s numerical advantage. He was deservedly named Man of the Match for his commanding performance.
DR Congo’s victory sends them into the quarterfinals, where they will face Guinea, who overcame Equatorial Guinea in their own Round of 16 clash. The Leopards will carry the momentum of this upset into their next encounter, dreaming of a fairytale run to the AFCON title.