FULL TIME: CONGO 2-1 BURKINA FASO

  • FULL TIME: CONGO 2-1 BURKINA FASO. Claude Le Roy works his magic yet again, as he is into the knockout stages at the Africa Cup of Nations for the seventh time in his last eight attempts, with five different countries. Thievy Bifouma’s goal was enough to see them through to the quarter-finals, but Ondama’s is the one that secures first place in the group. Meanwhile, last year’s runner-ups have exit the group stage with their head in their hands, and they only have themselves to blame.
  • 90′ + 3′
    GAME OVER! CONGO ARE YOUR GROUP A WINNERS!
  • 90′ + 2′
    INCREDIBLY UNLUCKY! Perhaps on another day that would have been a goal, but Alain Traore’s sensational effort from 35 yards out smacks off the underside of the bar and stays out! Congo clear and they may have done enough now to seal this victory.
  • 90′ + 1′
    Into the first of three minutes of stoppage time and Burkina Faso look incredibly discouraged. There is seemingly no way back for them now, though they can force Congo to settle for second place with a late equalizer… and they do have a free kick from 35 yards out.
  • 89′
    SubstitutionFrancis LitsinguCésaire Gandzé
  • 89′
    Meanwhile in the other match, Equatorial Guinea have taken a 2-0 lead over Gabon as they surely look to have secured all three points. As things stand, Congo would be through as group winners!
  • 87′
    Goal Fabrice Nguessi Ondama
  • 87′
    Finally Congo take advantage of a set piece. A free kick is played into the area and Sanou is timidly out to punch. His indecisiveness is punished as he fails to get much of anything on the ball allowing the substitute Ondama to bundle it across the line!
  • 87′
    CONGO ARE BACK IN FRONT AFTER SOME HORRENDOUS GOALKEEPING! IT IS SURELY OVER NOW!
  • 86′
    Assist Issiaka Ouédraogo
  • 86′
    Goal Aristide Bancé
  • 86′
    It is an absolutely sensetional pass from Ouedraogo on the right, curling a cross behind the defence and straight onto the feet of Bance who taps it home! Burkina Faso have a glimmer of hope!
  • 86′
    WELL JUST LIKE THAT BURKINA FASO ARE LEVEL! GAME ON!
  • 85′
    Alain Traore is flagged for an offside and frustration appears to be setting in for Burkina Faso. They are moving forward in numbers, but appear to be out of answers as Congo sniffing out every attack with relative ease.
  • 83′
    SMASHED OVER! Pressure is beginning to mount as Bertrand Traore is teed up for a shot from 30 yards out, but his thunderous volley deflects just over the bar. They may just have one last push left in them…
  • 81′
    DISALLOWED! Anticipation builds as Bertrand Traore wins a free kick from 25 yards out. The delivery from Alain Traore is superb and Yago forces the keeper into spilling the ball onto the feet of Pitroipa who slots home. The goal is not given, however, as the centre-back is flagged for offside!
  • 79′
    Time is running out for Burkina Faso who appear headed for an early exit. Even if they did mount a miraculous comeback, it would be incredibly harsh on Congo who have defended admirably throughout.
  • 77′
    SHOULD BE LEVEL! Bance puts in some good work on the right and his ball into the area runs all the way to Bertrand Traore. The substitute tries to put it in at the far post, but drags his shot just inches wide!
  • 75′
    SubstitutionFérébory DoreFabrice Nguessi Ondama
  • 75′
    Congo are the ones posing the threat now, despite Burkina Faso being the side in need of two goals. A free kick is driven towards goal by N’Dinga, and it nearly ricochets into the path of Douniama, but the substitute cannot get his feet right as it rolls behind for a goal kick.
  • 73′
    SubstitutionAbdou Razak TraoréIssiaka Ouédraogo
  • 73′
    SUPERB SAVE! Substitute Ladislas Douniama wins a free kick on the very edge of the area, and they orchestrate a wonderfully-worked routine, setting up N’Dinga for a shot at the top of the area. The midfielder drives it low and back across goal, but Sanou dives down well to collect, giving Burkina Faso a glimmer of hope still.
  • 71′
    STAT ATTACK: Congo last made it out of the group stage at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1992, when there were just 12 teams – eight of which went on to the quarter-finals. They finished second in the group, tying both matches before losing to Ghana in the next round.
  • 69′
    The match has become very sloppy now and play is largely being contained in midfield. Errant passes are preventing either side from getting into attack, while it looks like Burkina Faso’s tournament hopes will die with their insistance at playing long balls over the top, intended for no one in particular.
  • 67′
    Congo are committing men back in defence and Burkina Faso have no answer. Their substitutes have yet to settle in, but they are running out of time. It will take something special for the Stallions to pull level it seems and it just does not look like they have the urgency required to get back in this game.
  • 65′
    Burkina Faso appeal for a penalty as a ball played into the area is blocked by what they feel was an arm. The referee immediately waves away claims and that appears to be the right call.
  • 63′
    SubstitutionThievy BifoumLadislas Douniama
  • 63′
    Great applause from the Congo fans for Thievy Bifouma who is taken off. The striker did go down for an extended period after scoring and suffered a bit of an injury in the match against Gabon. This added rest could prove valuable should Congo hold on and reach the knockout stages.
  • 61′
    The Stallions are starting to dominate in midfield now and commit plenty of men forward. The win successive corners, and the substitute Bertrand Traore is quick to take them. Both are played short and neither amount to anything, but at least they are showing signs of creating something.
  • 59′
    SubstitutionIssa GouoAristide Bancé
  • 59′
    Two changes for Burkina Faso, and it is the two which were expected. Bertrand Traore should provide some much needed creativity in attack, while Aristide Bance will give them a greater physical presence up top, and is a natural striker, unlike Pitroipa. Issa Gouo and Prejuce Nakoulma are off, meaning the Stallions have likely gone to three at the back.
  • 58′
    SubstitutionPréjuce Niguimbé NakoulmaBertrand Traore
  • 57′
    Burkina Faso are back on the front foot as they desperately search for an equalizer. They win a corner, but Mafoumbi rushes off his line and gets the slightest of touches to sniff out the chance. For all the goalkeeper’s quirks, he certainly does have a good command of his area.
  • 55′
    Goal to Equatorial Guinea! The hosts have just scored a penalty in the other match, meaning at the moment they are through to the knockout stage with Congo. It also means that if Burkina Faso can battle back and win this game, they would be through and Congo would be eliminated!
  • 53′
    Well, well, well! The replay shows that Dore was actually in an offside position when the original pass was played. He was no more than 10 yards away from the assistant, who was looking right across the line and got it all wrong!
  • 51′
    Assist Férébory Dore
  • 51′
    Goal Thievy Bifoum
    Dore, who has been incredible lively in the second half, gets on the end of a through ball from Oniangue and breaks into the area. He plays it across the box for Bifouma who beats Yago to side-foot into the empty net! Magnificent build up play and you have to say it is a deserved lead for Congo.
  • 51′
    THIEVY BIFOUMA PUTS CONGO IN FRONT AND THEY SURELY ARE INTO THE QUARTER-FINALS NOW!
  • 50′
    THAT HAD TO BE IT! Congo should have two goals in this half already! Bifouma sends an absolutely magnificent ball into the area to pick out the run of Dore, who just needed a touch to turn it in. He cannot get his feet right, however, and it winds up running behind for a goal kick!
  • 48′
    NEARLY THE OPENER! Bifouma wins a quick corner for Congo and they nearly take the chance. The delivery into the area is strong and Dore rises well to meet it, but glances it just wide of the near post!
  • 46′
    Congo get the second half underway! No changes at the break for either side, as we still await the first goal of the day in Group A.
  • Burkina Faso coach Paul Put likely will not wait long to make a couple of changes if his side do not show signs of scoring by the hour mark. Bertrand Traore and Aristide Bance are waiting in the wings, both of whom are more than capable of finding the back of the net.
  • HALF TIME: CONGO 0-0 BURKINA FASO. A draw is good enough for the Red Devils and they look in good shape to get that for the time being. Burkina Faso have been seriously lacking creativity in attack and need to make some changes at the break if they are to have any hopes of salvaging their tournament.
  • 45′ + 1′
    The corner is dealt with, albeit unconvincingly, but a follow up shot is sent wide as the first half comes to an end.
  • 45′
    Just one minute of added time signalled by the referee as Pitroipa wins a corner for Burkina Faso.
  • 43′
    Congo’s centre-backs cannot feel very confident with Mafoumbi’s unconventional style in goal. A long ball forward for Pitroipa does not trouble Baudry, but the keeper runs off his line and does not call for the ball before heading it clear. He nearly collides with his defender for a second time in the match. The keeper has to start talking to his defenders or they could be made to pay for one of these mistakes.
  • 41′
    Congo win another free kick in a dangerous position, just to the left of the penalty area. Bifouma delivers and Burkina Faso can only partially clear. The follow up from Oniangue is poor, however, as the chance goes begging.
  • 39′
    HOW HAS HE MISSED IT?! The Stallions are really getting on the front foot now as half time approaches. A nifty ball played into the area by Abdou Traore is headed into the path of an unmarked Pitroipa. The forward chests it down and tries to volley it at goal from close range, but a vital intervention made by N’Dinga forces the effort over the bar! Pitroipa needed just a split second longer for the ball to drop and he would have had his goal.
  • 37′
    THAT WAS IT! Finally Burkina Faso pick out the through ball they have been looking for, as Pitroipa acts as provider with Nakoulma darting behind the defence. The winger just fails to get a touch on it, however, as the keeper manages to collect. He really should be doing better there.
  • 35′
    This game is crying out for a goal! Neither side look nearly as eager to get in front as they did at the start. In fact, it appears as though both teams are scared to concede the first goal which has made for some very timid and conservative football. Bifouma goes down now after a collision and the ball is put out of play as the medical staff comes out to attend to him.
  • 33′
    Burkina Faso have a clear gameplan going forward, and that is to play balls over the top for Pitroipa to chase. It has not worked at all in this first half and Congo have caught on to this lack of inventiveness, making for some simple defending for them.
  • 31′
    Good delivery! Burkina Faso continue to put themselves under pressure at the back by conceding free kicks in dangerous positions. This one, just to the right of the penalty area, is whipped in well by N’Ganga, but none of his teammates can direct it at goal as Burkina Faso clear.
  • 29′
    OFFSIDE AGAIN! Pitroipa gets into space just to the left of the area and shouts for a pass. He doesn’t have a look at the defenders at all, however, resulting in him standing in an offside position. It is a careless and lazy error from the forward who should certainly know better than that. He has been flagged for offside on five or six occasions already in this first half.
  • 27′
    Wonderful defending! Pitroipa gets into the area and takes on Francis N’Ganga. The makeshift centre forward is certainly dangerous with the ball at his feet, but the defender gets great positioning on him and muscles Pitroipa off the ball, allowing his keeper to collect. Great stuff from the Charleroi man at the back.
  • 25′
    Keep in mind, a Gabon draw and Burkina Faso victory would leave both teams tied with Congo at four points. This would require the Stallions to win by at least two goals to go through on goal differential. Now, should Equatorial Guinea win, it would be a big boost for Burkina Faso, who would just need a win of any kind to advance to the quarter-finals. It certainly is a cloudy picture at the moment, but it will all become clear in just over an hour of playing time.
  • 23′
    Captain Charles Kabore collides with Thievy Bifouma and concedes a free kick inside his own half. The delivery from Moutou is superb as Burkina Faso cannot deal with it, but the cross winds up running all the way through the danger area and behind for a goal kick.
  • 21′
    FIRST REAL CHANCE! That is the best chance of the match by a mile, and Thievy Bifouma will be kicking himself for not putting Congo in front. Delvin N’Dinga sends a tremendous ball forward to the striker, playing him through on goal, but Bifouma drags his shot wide of the far post!
  • 19′
    Burkina Faso, though they have not managed to create much of a chance since the early stages, will take solace in the fact that the ball is spending the majority of time in the Congo half. It has all been a bit too predictable from Paul Put’s side, however, as the Red Devils have begun to settle in at the back.
  • 17′
    The game has reached a bit of a cagey period after a lively start. Constant fouls and stoppages have prevented the match from gaining any sort of flow or momentum, which certainly works in Congo’s favour.
  • 15′
    Burkina Faso have looked much more threatening in possession. Congo, with the exception of a few set pieces, have hardly managed to get the ball into the opposition’s penalty area. The Stallions on the other hand are playing very direct, which has made for some nervy moments at the back with Christoffer Mafoumbi looking a bit unsettled in goal.
  • 13′
    STAT ATTACK: The two teams met in the qualification phase of the 2014 Fifa World Cup. They originally drew the first match 0-0 in Ouagadougou, but Congo were awarded a 3-0 victory after Burkina Faso were deemed to have fielded an ineligible player. The Stallions returned the favour, with Aristide Bance securing a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture in Pointe-Noire.
  • 11′
    GREAT CHANCE! Successive corners for Burkina Faso and the second delivery from Alain Traore is met at the far post by Mohamed Koffi, but the right-back cannot direct his header towards goal. There was a good few feet of space for him to slot home that chance.
  • 9′
    There has been a fantastic early pace to this game, with Congo now getting up the pitch and winning a corner. Again the delivery from Moutou is dealt with, but the Red Devils certainly do not appear to be sitting back and playing for the draw.
  • 7′
    Another dangerous ball! This time Prejuce Nakoulma plays a ball over the top for Pitroipa, but the striker heads it just wide. The flag again is up for an offside, but Burkina Faso are certainly making their intent clear early on.
  • 5′
    OFFSIDE! The Stallions break forward wonderfully, picking apart this Congo defensive unit. Jonathan Pitroipa, who looks to be playing in the role of centre forward early on, gets on the end of a through ball but the flag is up! Early warning signs for the Red Devils at the back.
  • 3′
    Congo get the first chance to send the ball into the area as Ferebery Dore wins a free kick in the attacking half after a foul from Abdou Traore. The eventual delivery is a letdown, however, as Burkina Faso get back in possession.
  • 1′
    Burkina Faso kick-off and we are underway at the Nuevo Estadio de Ebebiyin. The Stallions are in green. Congo in red. Group A will be settled in a little under two hours from now!
  • Stallions coach Paul Put knows his team have to go for victory, but has preached discipline to his side. Despite their need for goals, two of their most lethal attackers, Bertrand Traore of Vitesse and Aristide Bance of HJK are removed from the starting lineup, as the coach has opted to give a chance to striker Abdou Razak Traore and Prejuce Nakoulma, both of whom play in the Turkish first division.
  • Claude Le Roy has made two changes to his team, despite their 1-0 victory over Gabon in their last match. Francis N’Ganga slots in at the back, with Boris Moubhio moving to the bench, while Francis Litsingi replaces Cesaire Gandze on the wing. The Red Devils have defended admirably in the group stage and must keep that trend going if they are to pick up the point they need today to reach the knockout stages.
  • BURKINA FASO SUBS: Fofana, Yedan, Rouamba, Koulibaly, Guira, Bambara, Balima, Bance, Soulama, Zongo, B. Traore, Ouedraogo.
  • CONGO SUBS: I. N’Ganga, Moubhio, Ganvoula, N’Guessi Ondama, Gandze, Douniama, Massa, C. Malonga, D. Malonga, Binguila, Ndzila, Mavoungou.
  • BURKINA FASO (4-3-3): Sanou; Koffi, Yago, B. Kone, Gouo; Kabore, D. Kone, Alain Traore; Nakoulma, Pitroipa, Abdou Razak Traore.
  • CONGO (4-4-2): Mafoumbi; N’Ganga, Baudry, Babele, Magnokele; Litsingi, Oniangue, N’Dinga, Bouka-Moutou; Dore, Bifouma.
  • CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
  • For Burkina Faso, the task is much less straightforward. The Stallions need a victory over Congo and anything but a draw in the other Group A match to secure their place in the next round. If Equatorial Guinea and Gabon end up finishing in a stalemate, Burkina Faso would require a victory of two goals or more – anything less sends them home with an inferior goal differential.
  • Congo surprised many with their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Gabon and have put themselves in an excellent position to advance to the knockout stage. A draw would be enough for the Red Devils to move on, and could see them through as group winners depending on results elsewhere.