The Mena of Niger have played a 1#1 draw with Congo Republic, in the last round two game in Group B, at the African Nations Championship.
Moussa Issa’s 69th minute penalty, cancelled out Prince Mouandza Mapata’s 35th minute thumping volley, as Niger and Congo settled for a draw.
As it happened
Both sides demonstrate great pace and power in the early minutes of the game, with end to end contest, in front of a huge crowd at the Japoma stadium.
Goalkeeper Giscard Mavoungou of Congo made a string a saves at the eighth minute, to prevent Niger from taking the lead.
Congo was forced to an early substitution, when Cara Brazzaville’s defender Cervelie Ikouma was stretchered off the pitch, and was replaced by Dimitri Bissiki.
An action parked half an hour failed to produce any curtain raiser, as anxious fans had to wait till the 35th minute, when Congolese defender Prince Mouandza Mapata lighted the touch_paper, with a thumping volley, that got goalkeeper Abdoul Razak Halidou off guard.
All attempts by Niger to draw the game level before the break, were cancelled out by a watertight Congolese defense.
Early in the second segment, Coach Harouna Doula of the Mena, brought in sacrificed captain Garba Halidou Idrissa for Moussa Issa Mossi, before pulling out defender Soufiane Boubacar for pre_CHAN Wonderboy, Adamou Moussa Issa, in a purely tactical switch.
More pressure from Niger paid off at the 69th minute, when a Congolese defender handled the ball in his penalty area, gifting the Mena a penalty, as substitute Moussa Issa Mossi splashed it to the back of the net to put the game a parity.
The two sides kept their desire to grab all three points alive, with more attacking options brought in. For Niger, ASN NIGELEC’s forward, Boubacar Djibril came in for Ibrahim Boubacar Marou, while coach Bartholomew Ngatsono of Congo brought in Archange Koxy and Bercy Langa Lesse, for Prince Obongo and Obassi Ngatsono.
Ibrahim Djibrila Issa had a golden opportunity at the 80th minute to put Niger ahead, but his shot went way off target.
A one all draw at full time, was the best way to separate two teams who showed great character and resilience, throughout the game.
The results means Niger now has two points on the standings in group B and will have a must win game against DR Congo on the last group game, while Congo Republic with just one point, will lock horns with the Mediterranean knights of Libya.