Coach Claude Le Roy’s side came from two goals down to draw with tournament favourites the Black Stars
By Joshua Ansah
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu opened the scoring for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after converting from a well-worked move before Kwadwo Asamoah gave Ghana a two-goal lead, but goals from Tresor Mputu and Mbokani drew DR Congo level.
Both sides started the game well, each winning a corner kick inside two minutes but both defences held their ground and cleared the danger.
Congo were then first to get their passing game together after that early period but the Ghanaians also grew into it with only some last ditch defending preventing Udinese’s Agyemang-Badu from getting a clear shot at goal from a well-placed cut-back.
Congo replied with a chance of their own as some good work down the right flank set up Lualua whose effort was parried onto the bar by Fatau Dauda.
A similar move saw Mbokani set up Mputu whose effort flew high as DRC looked to exploit the weakness of Asamoah playing at a largely unfamiliar left-back role. The Ghanaians settled back into the game and both sides continued to have a go at each other though no clear cut chances were created until Asamoah Gyan was played through on-goal with pin-point accuracy by Derek Boateng, but the Al-Ain forward dallied too much and sliced the ball wide.
Congo responded with a sustained period of pressure but the Leopards were stung in the 40th minute as Agyemang-Badu scored the first goal of the tournament after an amazing bit of play from Asamoah who played a quick one-two with Gyan before setting up Agyemang-Badu for the tap-in.
DR Congo went right back into the Ghanaian half sustaining another period of pressure but were almost caught out again as Mutebe Kidiaba had to react quickly on the stroke of half time to prevent a fierce in-swinging cross from getting to its target.
The Ghanaians came out well in the second half carving out another good opening but Kidiaba did well to save at his near post. But Asamoah was on hand to head in from the resulting corner taken by Mubarak Wakaso to give the Ghanaians a two-goal cushion four minutes into the second half.
Congo responded to the goal as they had responded to all Ghana’s chances in the game, with another period of pressure but this time they made good use of it as Mputu did well to pull one back with a smooth finish after a great through ball put him in a position to slot past the keeper.
Congo sustained the period of pressure and were robbed of an equaliser only by a couple of very good last ditch tackles. The Ghanaians responded again but Gyan failed to get his effort on goal past the first defender despite being in a very good position. Congo were, however, level in the 67th minute after a smooth finish from the spot by Dieumerci Mbokani who won the spot kick off Jeremiah Akaminko.
Gyan then stung Kidiaba’s palms with a fierce shot a couple of minutes later before heading wide from a good cross in the 73rd minute as the Ghanaians looked to get back in front. Kidiaba then had to make a great save from a tricky free kick barely a minute later from Wakaso whose delivery was causing DR Congo a lot of problems. The Leopards, however, caused problems of their own, with Dauda having to produce a world class save to prevent his side from going behind.
Both sides tried to find the winner but neither managed it with Congo having a scare late into injury time as Kidiaba almost carried a save from Gyan’s header into his own net, as the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is still yet to see any team win a game. Both sides will however will be looking to build on this result against the other group members, Mali and Niger.