Debutants Madagascar see off DR Congo on penalties

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Madagascar 2-2 DR Congo AET (Madagascar win 4-2 on penalties)

Madagascar’s dream debut at the Africa Cup of Nations continued with a penalty shoot-out victory over Democratic Republic of Congo in Sunday’s last-16 tie following a dramatic 2-2 draw in Alexandria.

Madagascar had defied all expectations by overcoming Nigeria on their way to top Group B and, despite the cruel blow of being pegged back in the 90th minute, they prevailed against opponents ranked 59 places above them in the FIFA rankings.

Faneva Andriatsima put the underdogs 2-1 in front with 13 minutes to play after Cedric Bakambu had cancelled out Ibrahim Amada’s stunning early opener.

Chancel Mbemba redeemed himself for a couple of earlier misses with a late equaliser but Madagascar came out on top in the shoot-out, Marcel Tisserand and Yannick Bolasie both blasting over.

Madagascar opened the scoring in sensational fashion, Lalaina Nomenjanahary cutting in from the right before Amada took over with a long-range shot that swerved away from Ley Matampi.

Ibrahim Amada celebrates his goal with his Madagascar teammates.

However, Florent Ibenge’s side levelled up through Bakambu’s downward header from the edge of the six-yard box after being picked out by Ngonda Muzinga’s deep cross from the left.

Mbemba chested the ball down but fired over the crossbar from a tight angle and then headed wide when left unmarked as two promising opportunities fell his way either side of half-time.

After Bakambu had also failed to convert a one-on-one opportunity, Andriatsima made the most of the opening that came his way, getting in front of Issama Mpeko to head home, despite Matampi getting a hand to it.

There was to be a late reprieve for DR Congo, though, thanks to Mbemba’s well-timed header in the final minute of normal time.

Yet they failed to find the net again during extra time and Tisserand and Bolasie both missed from the spot, Madagascar in contrast scoring all four of their attempts from the spot to set up a quarter-final clash against either Ghana or Tunisia.

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