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AFCON 2023: DR Congo goalkeeper Mpasi converts winning penalty to eliminate Egypt

Egypt are out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after the Pharaohs fell to DR Congo 8-7 in a penalty shootout after the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes. Meschack Elia opened the scoring for the Leopards in the first half before Mostafa Mohamed’s penalty kick leveled the score just before halftime. After the teams could not be separated it was Congolese goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi who converted the winning penalty kick to send his team through to the quarterfinals where they will face Guinea on February 2.

The match was a tactical battle throughout with Egypt focused on maintaining possession while the Congolese team searched for opportunities to exploit the wings. Towards the end of the first half the action picked up and DR Congo snatched the lead in the 37th minute by taking advantage of a mental error from the Egyptian defense. DRC left back Arthur Masuaku won a disputed throw-in and as a group of Egyptian players protested to the referee, Masuaku’s throw found the run of Yoane Wissa whose cross deflected past Egypt goalkeeper Gabaski to the far post for Elia to head into the goal.

Egypt responded before halftime arrived and it was a VAR review that came to the aid of the Pharaohs. A free kick service into the Congolese penalty area resulted in an aerial duel between DRC central defender Dylan Batubinska and Egypt defender Ahmed Hegazy. An extended arm from Batubinska hit Hegazy across the face and VAR determined a foul was committed, after which Mohamed placed his spot kick into the top corner to equalize.

Little action occurred in the second half with Egypt looking slightly more threatening. Egypt substitute Mahmoud Hamada had an opportunity when a cross from Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” fell kindly to the midfielder but he could not get his feet right to shoot on goal. The match went into extra time and Egypt were reduced to ten players following a second yellow card to left back Mohamed Hamdy, but the Congolese did little to threaten with the exception of substitute Silas Katompa’s dangerous cross from the left wing in the 106th minute that went through the six-yard box without a finishing touch.

Penalty kicks were needed and it was an epic shootout. Mohamed surprisingly missed Egypt’s second attempt but Masuaku failed to convert his attempt immediately after. The teams each converted six attempts until Egypt keeper Gabaski stepped up and put his effort off the crossbar and over. Congolese goalkeeper Mpasi then dispatched his spot kick to spark celebrations for an elated Leopards team and send yet another North African nation to elimination.

Highlights and the penalty kick shootout will be below when available.

Match Highlights & Penalty Kick Shootout

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