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Africa Cup of Nations

South Africa seal AFCON third-place win, wasteful Congo left heartbroken

South Africa seal AFCON third-place win, profligate Congo left heartbroken

For the first time in over two decades, South Africa claimed a third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after edging out the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw.

Considering how the game panned out, Bafana Bafana would have been scratching their heads as to how they’ve managed to achieve the feat, but they ultimately made a wasteful DR Congo rue their terrible luck.

Both teams had already exceeded pre-tournament expectations, so the third-place clash presented a decent opportunity for them to sign off with a place on the podium.

However, the nature of the first-half display suggested neither side was particularly interested in the consolation tie, as there were just two shots on target before half-time.

Simon Banza’s tame effort from close range was easily collected by Ronwen Williams, while Mihlali Mayambela’s long-range attempt failed to trouble Dimitry Bertaud at the other end of the pitch.

Thankfully, the second half was more exciting, with DR Congo the more dangerous of the two sides. They created chances at will but weren’t clinical enough to find the elusive opener.

Banza and Grady Diangana blasted shots over the bar from promising positions before Meschak Elia stung Williams’ palms with a long-range strike. 

Congo were soon presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead when Elia took advantage of a Williams howler. He did well to find Silas Mvumpa, but the forward could only hit the side netting.

South Africa responded through Mayambela, but the winger’s low shot lacked the required power to cause Bertaud any real problems.

Congo crafted one final chance to snatch a win as the end of regular time beckoned. But Fiston Mayele’s wayward effort was just another in a catalogue of missed opportunities for the Central Africans.

After an uninspiring opening 45 minutes, the second half saw Congo create five big chances but fail to convert any as the tie headed straight into penalty shoot-outs.

Teboha Mokoena stepped up first for South Africa, but despite sending Bertaud the wrong way, his spot-kick hit the post. 

However, Williams, who saved four penalties in the quarter-final shoot-out win over Cape Verde, was again the hero, thwarting Chancel Mbemba and Elia to clinch the win for his nation.

Looking ahead

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that the AFCON final is scheduled for this evening at 8.00 pm GMT. 

Nigeria and Ivory Coast will go head to head for a chance to be crowned kings of the continent in what promises to be one of the footballing spectacles of the year.

How to Watch?

Sky Sports will broadcast the final live in the United Kingdom. Numerous other live football streaming websites will allow you to watch the showpiece in real time regardless of your geographical location.

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