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2023 AFCON U-17: Somalia hold on to share the spoils with Congo

A determined Somalia team earned their first ever point at the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations on Tuesday with a 1-1 draw against Republic of Congo in Group A action. Dini Mohamed Dahir scored in the first half to give Somalia’s Ocean Stars their first point in the finals of a CAF national team competition since the 1987 African Youth Championship. The Congolese responded through Ayel Wumba Nzouzi but could not find a match winner despite their dominance, setting up a must-win match against group leaders Senegal on Friday while Somalia must defeat hosts Algeria to keep their knockout stage hopes alive.

After a quiet opening fifteen minutes, Somalia were put under heavy pressure but the Ocean Stars benefited from wasteful shooting by the Red Devils. Somalia managed only one shot on goal in the first half but it was all they needed to stun the Congolese and take the lead. In the 31st minute an excellently weighted through pass from Swedish-based midfielder Idriis Aden sent Dahir in on goal and the forward made no mistake with a low finish past Congo goalkeeper Chelcy Bonazebi.

Good defending and goalkeeping in key moments kept Somalia ahead by halftime but a loss of focus allowed the favored Congolese to equalize in the 58th minute. A hopeful bouncing pass towards the penalty area was poorly dealt with and Nzouzi snuck in to claim the ball before his low shot squeezed through Somalia keeper Abdikadir Mohamed. Congo pushed numbers forward but their finishing continued to be underwhelming and Somalia almost claimed victory with a 90th minute counter-attack when Abdiasis Bahur surged in on goal but his effort was saved by Bonazebi.

Highlights of the match are below.


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