January 20, 2013

DR Congo and Ghana put on a thrilling show on Sunday in their Group B opening match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The Leopards came from behind to draw 2-2 with the top-seeded Black Stars at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elisabeth.

Favored to win and facing a Congolese side embroiled in a row over bonuses just days before the game, the Black Stars met instead a resilient Leopards side, which dominated possession in the first half and came very close twice to opening the scoring.

Lomana LuaLua’s shot from close range on 13 minutes hit the crossbar after goalkeeper Fatau Dauda somehow managed to tip the ball. Tresor Mputu missed from a good position on 29 minutes when his shot went over the bar.

With Ghana proving a threat on the counterattack, it was just a matter of time before either team would score the first goal of the tournament. And Ghana did just that as Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu put the ball past goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba after a one-two with Asamoah Gyan.

Kwadwo Asamoah extended the lead to 2-0 just after halftime with a header and it seemed as if the Black Stars would carry the day.

But Tresor Mputu put DR Congo right back into the game four minutes later by scoring from inside the box on a through-ball from Cedric Makiadi.

Mbokani completed the comeback on 69 minutes, scoring on a penalty kick after he was brought down in the box by defender Jerry Akaminko.

The thrilling game was in sharp contrast with the games on opening day which were both scoreless.

The 2-2 draw leaves the two teams with one point each as they await the results of the other Group B game between Mali and Niger later on Sunday.

The Leopards will play Niger next on Thursday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.