Ten-man Democratic Republic of Congo nicked a one goal victory against Morocco after Moroccan keeper Munir made a terrible mistake enabling DR Congo to score.
Kabananga turned in the rebound after an out-of- position Munir used his legs to deal with M’Bemba’s cross and deflected it back out into the centre of the penalty area.
Morocco had many a missed chance. Boussoufa hit the crossbar very early on. Cancela also nearly scored straight after DR Congo’s game-winning strike.
En-Nesyri missed two in quick succession, one from 25 yards out and one from the left of the six-yard box.
Things got more difficult for DR Congo when substitute Lomalisa was sent off for a second yellow card. The first was for time-wasting at a throw-in. The second was for a high challenge on Fajr.
Al Arabi missed two excellent headed chances too, but in the end, Morocco were to lose the game and could not even take advantage of a spell where DR Congo went down to nine due to Zakuani’s injury.
DR Congo’s timewasting was masterful and it spaced the game out and really took the wind out of the Moroccan sails. DR Congo continually hit the deck to waste time and even six minutes didn’t do the amount of time wasted justice.
An unexpected loss for Morocco and Herve Renard, a man who has won the tournament managing Ivory Coast & Zambia.
Morocco got off to a good start as in the second minute Boussoufa hit the crossbar. Bouhaddouz played a short ball backwards to Boussoufa who from over 20 yards out wrapped his foot around the ball and his dipping shot to the left hit the upright.
Da Costa could have scored for Morocco. Carcela whipped in a free-kick from the left which Da Costa met with his head. He put it very wide due to how close he was being marked.
Bouhaddouz failed to connect with a cross which found him in the box. The striker attempted an intricate flick but completely missed it.
Bakambu had a decent crack at goal from distance. Mulumbu was making his way up the pitch when he was fouled by Da Costa. The referee played advantage. Villareal striker Bakambu took a first-time shot from distance which curled inwards and was held by Munir.
Chancel Mbemba nearly scored with a shot just outside the penalty area. After a messy few moments, Mbemba got hold of the ball. He subsequently squirmed past a couple of Moroccan defenders and despite being swarmed by green shirts he got a shot away which trickled wide.
Mendyl made a very positive run forward for Morocco. The wing-back came flying forward down the left beating Issama. Mendyl then stormed into the box. Issama made an excellent recovery though and managed to deprive Mendyl of the ball, putting it out for a corner.
Thus the first half ended goalless. Morocco were the aggressors of the half putting plenty of pressure on DR Congo. DR Congo were solid though not cracking in defence. The game did suffer from a lack of good chances though. Boussoufa hitting the crossbar in the second minute being the best of the half.
Bouhaddouz came close early on in the second half. The Moroccan player nearly headed in from close range with his shot saved by Matampi.
N’Sakala was booked for a challenge that was down to his teammate Tisserand. Both players went in for a challenge on Carcela but N’Sakala barely made any contact as Tisserand came ploughing in from behind.
DR Congo nabbed a goal against the run of play in the 56th minute through Kabananga after an awful mistake from Morocco’s Munir. Mbemba played a cross in from the left. The cross went straight at Munir, who was positioned poorly. Munir then used his legs instead of his hands sending the ball out weakly.
Take nothing away from the finish though. Kabananga beat two Moroccans to get his foot on the ball and fire into the left-hand of the net.
Cancela nearly offered an immediate response for Morocco. From just over 20 yards out, he shot wide. On the right hand side of the pitch he failed to aim his shot enough to the left.
Morocco made their first change bringing on En-Nesyri for El Kaddouri.
DR Congo made their first swap five minutes later with Lomalisa on for N’Sakala.
Da Costa was booked after hauling down Junior Kabananga on the right wing.
En-Nesyri had two chances in very quick succession. The first of which was an effort from 25 yards out that troubled Matampi due to its swerve. The second of which was one he received just to the left of the six yard box where he fired over.
Morocco and DR Congo made changes. Kabananga the goalscorer was brought off for Maghoma while Fajr was brought on for Saiss for Morocco.
Lomalisa also found himself getting a yellow card for DR Congo after timewasting from a throw-in soon after coming on.
DR Congo made their final substitution bringing Bakambu off and Mbokani on.
Morocco made their final sub: Carcela off and El Arabi on.
DR Congo made their task of holding on even more difficult when substitute Lomalisa was given a second yellow card for a kung-fu esque tackle on Fajr. Two bookings for two moments of stupidity. The first red card of the tournament.
DR Congo were down to nine temporarily when Zakuani suffered an injury. Morocco failed to make anything out of this period of play though and he eventually came back on carrying the injury.
El-Arabi should have equalised twice. Once with a header from a free-kick delivery and the second was a throughball which he definitely should have tucked away only for Matampi to save at the near post.
A huge six minutes of added time were played on after an abundance of DR Congo timewasting via feigning injury.
The game ended 1-0. A dreadful result for Morocco whose new manager Herve Renard, two time winner of the African Cup of Nations, had such high expectations for his side. Morocco deserved to win but had one mistake which they were punished for and they failed to get their game back on track.
It is especially poor when you consider they were up against 10 men for the last 20 odd minutes and nine men for a roughly five minute period.