Pen-perfect Madagascar March to Afcon Quarters

BY STEVE AYOO 

Marcel Tisserand and Yannick Bolasie missed their spot kicks as the Democratic Republic of Congo were bundled out of the Africa Cup of Nations on post-match penalties by giant killers Madagascar.

The two sides battled for a 2-2 draw in normal and extra time, sending the tie to penalties which the Island nation won 4-2 to reach the Afcon quarters in their debut tournament.

Madagascar, surprise Group B winners after beating Burundi and fellow quarterfinalists Nigeria, and Congo, second runners-up in Group A, met at the Alexandria Stadium for a battle whose winner would enter the quarters.

They entertained to a fault with Madagascar having the first big say in the match as Ibrahim Samuel Amanda put them ahead after 9 minutes with a superb left-footed shot from 20 yards that sailed in.

Cedric Bakambu however drew The Leopards level with a 21st minute header off a cross from Ngonda Muzinga, the duo going to the break tied at 1-1.

Faneva Ima Andriatsima restored Malagasy’s lead with a brave header 15 minutes to the end. However, when it looked like Madagascar would take the win in normal time, Chancel Mbemba leaped high to power home a stoppage time header and send the match to extra time.

It was perhaps some level of justice as DRC were denied a penalty three minutes earlier after Bolasie was fouled inside the area by Thomas Fontaine.

Congo did everything right in extra time but failed to get the wining goal as the referee ushered in post match penalties.

Madagascar’s Amada was the first to step forward and he made no mistake, wrong footing Congo keeper Ley Matampi.

Tisserand then stepped forward for Congo but he sent his spot kick over the bar to give Madagascar the advantage.

The Barea made maximum use as Romain Metanire, Thomas Fontaine and Jerome Mombris all beat Matampi.

Bolasie had to convert his kick to force Madagascar to line up their fifth taker.

However, nerves got the best of the Everton man who skied his effort to hand Madagascar a 4-2 penalty kick victory, Paul Mpoku the only other Leopard to beat Melvin Adrien in the Malagasy goal.

The surprise debutants will now await for whoever wins the match between Ghana and Tunisia who play on Monday. The quarterfinal will be played on May 11 at Al Salam.

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