DR Congo’s Leopards made history by becoming the first team to win the African Nations Championship (CHAN) after Ghana 2-0 in the final played on Sunday at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, Abidjan.
Second half strikes from Kaluyituka Dioko and Mbenza Bedi ensured the Congolese became the first winners of the competition restricted to footballers pl;aying in their country of birth.
The result was also a perfect revenge for the Leopards, who had suffered a 0-3 loss at the hands of their West African counterparts in their earlier meeting at the group phase.
It was a well deserved victory for the Congolese as they completely outplayed the Ghanaians to claim their first major championship since the 1974 African Cup of Nations feat in Cairo, Egypt.
The Congolese started brightly and made clear their intentions from the very beginning with deadly striker Tresor Mputu Mabi coming close twice in the first and fourth minutes.
The Congolese appeared more organized and confirmed that with dominance in possession as the Ghanaians laboured in search of the rhythm.
On the 12th minute mark, Black Stars goalie Philemon MacCarthy scored full marks as he parried away Mputu’s goalbound shot from a goalmouth action.
For Ghana, Asampong Taylor’s drive with the outside of right foot and Ibrahim Ayew near misses was all they could boast of as an attempt at goal in the early stages.
The Congolese were very swift on the counter and anytime they moved the Ghanaian defence was found wanting.
Ghana’s Black Stars were unlucky to have gone up after Edmund Owusu-Ansah header from Taylor’s cross missed narrowly after the latter had headed past onrushing Leopards goalie Kidiaba Muteba.
The Congolese resumed the second half strongly and took the lead under a minute into the half through Kaluyituka who headed home from Lofo Bongeli cross, which beat the Ghanaian defence.
The Leopards maintained their dominance and succeeded in authenticating their lead on 74 minutes through Mbenza Bedi who blasted past MacCarthy from Lofo again from the left.
The remainder of the game belonged to the Congolese as they taught their Ghanaian counterparts some football lessons, characterized by circuit passes as the packed crowd jeered on.