Gambia held off many attacks from hosts Republic of Congo but Les Diables Rouges found their winner through Antoine Makoumbou in the second half for their first three points in 2023 AFCON qualifying on Wednesday. Republic of Congo bounce back from a 4-0 thumping in Mali to move into second place in Group G, tied on points with Gambia but ahead currently on the head-to-head tiebreaker. Congo have two important matches against South Sudan in September while Gambia will face group leaders Mali in back-to-back fixtures.
After submitting rapidly in front of a frenzied home crowd in Mali last time out they had their own passionate crowd in the capital of Brazzaville to inspire them this time around. Gambia hardly had a sniff of the Congolese goal but the hosts struggled to find the final touch while spending the majority of the match in the Gambian end. 2021-22 CAF Champions League winning striker Guy Mbenza had the best opportunity after the Congolese marksman got behind the defense on an aerial ball but Gambia goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye did brilliantly to smother the ball as Mbenza attempted to dribble around him.
The signs were there for Republic of Congo, however, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before the visitors would fall behind. Makoumbou nearly put the Red Devils in the lead in the 56th minute but his free kick from 25 yards out was curled just wide of Gaye’s goal. The moment finally arrived when Makoumbou received a pass from Prestige Mboungou on the left wing and unleashed a bouncing effort from 27 yards that skipped by Gaye for the game’s lone goal.
Highlights from the duel in Brazzaville are below.