Republic of Congo were in control during their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against South Sudan on Monday and it was substitute Gabriel Charpentier who provided relief for the Diables Rouges supporters when his late goal gave Congo a 1-0 victory. Charpentier fired a shot past South Sudan goalkeeper Majak Mawith in the 90th minute to give Congo three crucial points in a tight Group G that could be the difference between qualification and elimination. Congo move into second position in the group with six points, three behind group leaders Mali and three ahead of both South Sudan and Gambia.
The Congolese dominated possession of the ball and contained Tito Okello and the South Sudanese attack with few issues, but could not find the finishing touch until late on in a match hosted by South Sudan at the National Stadium in Tanzania. South Sudan nearly found a surprise opening goal late in the first half when Congolese goalkeeper Pavelh Ndzila flapped at a cross and the ball fell to William Akio for a golden opportunity, but the Raith Rovers forward put his shot high and off target.
Congo’s dominance increased in the second half and the addition of substitutes Charpentier and 17-year-old rising star Déo Bassinga added more to the attack. In the 89th minute it appeared the match winner arrived for Congo but the offsides flag controversially ruled out what appeared to be a legitimate goal. The anger of the Congolese players subsided soon after when Vieljeux Mboungou touched a pass into the path of Charpentier and the Parma forward fired low past South Sudan keeper Majak Mawith for the essential goal.
Highlights are below.