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2023 AFCON: DR Congo wears Morocco down, overcomes early deficit to draw

A second half leveler from Silas Katomba gave DR Congo a deserved point in a 1-1 draw with Group F favorites Morocco at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Sunday’s early match. An early strike from Achraf Hakimi put the Atlas Lions into the lead but the Congolese team grew into the match and took a point in the end. Morocco will look for a victory against Zambia in their final Group F fixture on Wednesday to win the group and DR Congo still need a victory against Tanzania to guarantee qualification for the Round of 16.

Moroccan anticipated difficulties in the heat of San Pédro but there was little sign of any trouble in the early stages. A bright start from the Atlas Lions resulted in a moment of high quality that put the 2022 FIFA World Cup semifinalists ahead in the 6th minute. Hakim Ziyech floated a corner kick service that went over a group of players from both teams but fell to Hakimi who displayed his excellent technique with a placed volley past Congolese goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi into the goal.

After twenty minutes of dominance from the Moroccans their level dropped and the Leopards of DR Congo began to control the match. Chancel Mbemba was denied a goal by the slightest of defensive touches following a corner kick in the 33rd minute but five minutes later a golden opportunity arrived for the Congolese when VAR determined that Morocco midfielder Selim Amallah handled a corner kick in his own penalty area. However, Cédric Bakambu sent his spot kick off the post and wide of the goal.

Morocco’s best chance to double their lead in the second half arrived when Ziyech set up Azzedine Ounahi for a curled effort over the bar in the 56th minute and from then on it was all DR Congo. Substitute Meschak Elia was a dangerous presence on the right wing and after creating a couple of opportunities with his pace and crossing, the breakthrough came for the Leopards in the 76th minute. Meschack received a floated pass on the right wing and drove to the end line where his low cross found the late run of fellow substitute Silas who fired a low shot between the legs of Bounou for the equalizer.

Highlights of the match are below.

Match Highlights

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