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2023 AFCON Qualifying: DR Congo and Mauritania battle to a controversial draw

Tuesday’s final match from 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying ended with a 1-1 draw between hosts Mauritania and DR Congo in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott. Cédric Bakambu opened the scoring for the Congolese in the opening ten minutes but Mouhamed Soueid leveled for Mauritania close to the hour mark. Mauritania remain a point ahead of the last placed DRC and are now two points back of Group I leaders Gabon and a point behind Sudan in a highly contested group.

Mauritania created several opportunities in the first half but gave the Leopards a gift when left back Aly Abeid was dispossessed in the corner by Théo Bongonda and the Congolese attacker crossed for Cédric Bakambu to finish from close range. Bakambu should have had a second late in the first half when he won the ball off Amadou Niass and went around Mauritania goalkeeper Babacar Mbaye but the Olympiacos striker’s effort was cleared off the line.

The host fought back in the second half and leveled before the hour mark when Mouhamed Soueid drove forward from the midfield and launched a rising shot that flew by DR Congo goalkeeper Joël Kiassumbua. Soon after Bakambu received a second yellow card and was sent off after he left his foot up when running by Mbaye as he collected the ball, an incident that led to a long delay with Bakambu initially refusing to leave the pitch.

DR Congo head coach Sébastien Desabre made a couple of substitutions and the Leopards did well considering their numerical disadvantage. Mauritania came close on a few occasions but the visitors managed to hold out for the draw and still remain within reach of a top two position with two matches remaining in a tight group.

Highlights of the match are below followed by the video of the expulsion of Bakambu and the aftermath.

Match Highlights

Cédric Bakambu is sent off soon after Mauritania levels in the 59th minute

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