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DR Congo defeats Benin on final day and claims first place in WCQ Group J

The Democratic Republic of Congo national side completed a revival on Sunday with a 2-0 home victory over Benin, which moved the Leopards from third place at the beginning of the international break to the top of Group J and confirmed their place in the final round. The fearsome striking duo of Dieumerci Mbokani and Ben Malango scored a goal each to delight the crowd at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa and help Hector Cúpér’s side move a point clear of the Squirrels to obtain the status of group winners.

The decisive match was not without controversy, and an important moment of contention occurred in the 8th minute that led to the opening goal. Congolese left back Arthur Masuaku sent in an early cross that caught the Beninese defense by surprise and as Malango attempted to get on the end of the service, he was held back by Benin captain Khaled Adenon. The referee awarded a penalty kick as a result with the Benin team protesting furiously for a couple of minutes. Mbokani was not distracted by the commotion and after a delay, put his spot kick low just beyond the reach of goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbe.

Mbokani nearly scored a second when Gaël Kakuta’s free kick from out wide found Mbokani for a header that went just wide in the 16th minute. Benin attempted to step up their efforts in the attacking end and had a couple of chances before halftime. Wing back David Kiki caused trouble when he got forward, and his errant 43rd minute cross nearly caught Congolese keeper Joël Kiassumbua out but landed on the top netting. Kiassumbua was called into action again in first half stoppage time when a bouncing free kick service from Jodel Dossou was tipped over by the free agent shot stopper.

With both teams having managers who emphasized defense in their tactics, however, the second half saw the Congolese successfully neutralize any attacking intentions Benin had. The opportunities dried up for the visitors as they attempted to draw even and get the result that would see them finish at the top of the group. DR Congo then put the match away in the 74th minute when a pinpoint cross from right back Dieumerci Amale found Malango, who met the service with an excellent header past Allagbe.

That was all the Leopards needed to wrap up first place and spark celebrations by the team and home fans as the Beninese players surrounded the referee following the final whistle to further protest the penalty kick decision. Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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