25 January 2015 08:25
Congo beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in their Group A encounter on Sunday in Ebibeyin and boo their place at the quarter-finals of the tournament.
It was the first time since 1992 that the Central African country has reached the knockout of the biennial championship.
The fairytale story of the Congolese continues as they qualified alongside hosts Equatorial Guinea, who beat neighbours 2-0 in the group’s other fixture in Bata.
It was a well deserved victory for the ‘Diables Rouges’ who have emerged one of the surprise packets of the tournament.
The clear cut chance of the opening half came the way of the ‘Diables Rouges’ on 20 minutes and it was Delvin Ndinga who laid a perfect pass to Thievy Bifouma, but the Spain-based forward saw his effort miss target narrowly.
At the other end, a long pass from Burkina Faso captain Charles Kabore found Jonathan Pitroipa, only for the Congolese goalie to tip his effort out of danger.
Both sides had an equal share of possession with the Congolese looking hungrier with Bifouma and Dore Ferebory answering the Burkinabe defence.
At half time, it was barren, a result which was good enough to push the 1972 champions into the next round. It was the scoreline in Bata where hosts Equatorial Guinea and neighbours Gabon were in action.
Bifouma, who was the busiest man in the ‘Diables Rouges’ frontline broke the deadlock four minutes from recess by finishing a cross from Francis Nganga with a tap beyond the reach of Burkina Faso goalie Germain Sanou.
The Almeria striker sustained an injury during the goal and had to be replaced by Ladislas Douniama moments after the goal.
The goal seemed to have awaken ‘Les Etalons’ and coach Paul Put made two changes, bringing on Bertrand Traore and Aristide Bance for Prejuce Nakoulma and Razack Traore.
The Congolese almost doubled the lead on 75 minutes but Sanou scored full marks with a calm save from a power-laden strike from Ndinga, who was set up by Ferebory at the edge of the penalty arc.
Traore and Bance brought energy into the game of the 2013 losing finalists and during one of their raids upfront, Traore struck an angled shot that flew across the face of goal.
On 86 minutes, ‘Les Etalons’ drew level through Bance with a clinical touch from substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo cross.
The Congolese went up again from the restart and Burkina Faso goalie Sanou in his bid to palm the ball away saw the ball bounced off the head of Fabrice Nguessi for the second goal that confirmed their place at the last eight.
In the closingBurkina were unlucky after Alain Taorevfreekuck h bounced off the cross ram of the crossbar into play
Orange Man of the Match Fabrice Nguessi (Congo)
Samsung fair Player of the Match Bertrand Kabore (Burkina Faso)