Congo are through to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals after beating Burkina Faso 2-1 to top Group A on Sunday in Ebibeyin. It is the first time since 1992 that the Congolese have reached the knockout stage of the continental competition. The clear cut chance of the opening half came the way of the Red Devils 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 ball from Burkinabe skipper Charles Kabore found Jonathan Pitroipa, only for the Congo keeper to tip his effort out of danger. Both sides had an equal share of possession with Claude Le Roys’s side looking hungrier with Bifouma and Dore Ferebory answering Les Etalons’ defence. At half time it remained goalless.
Bifouma broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart by finishing a cross from Francis Nganga with a tap beyond the reach of Germain Sanou. The Almeria striker would later be replaced by Ladislas Douniama. Le Roy’s charges might have 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.
On 86 minutes, the West Africans drew level through Aristide Bance with a clinical touch from substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo cross. However, Congo restored their lead when Sanou attempted to palm the ball away but the ball bounced off the head of Fabrice Nguessi. And that was how it would finish.