Category Gist & Gossip
The Democratic Republic of Congo put four goals past helpless Zimbabwe to brighten their chances of qualifying as one of the best losers on Sunday.
Congo lost their first two games in Egypt but Jonathan Bolingi and Cedric Bakambu struck in the first half.
Bakambu added a penalty before substitute Britt Assombalonga improved Congo’s goal difference late on.
That saw them finish above Zimbabwe and they must wait to see if they are one of four third-placed teams to qualify.
Zimbabwe had to make a late change to their starting line-up when goalkeeper George Chigova was injured in the warm-up. His replacement was Elvis Chipezeze, their third-choice keeper, because Edmore Sibanda is also injured.
The 29-year-old only made his international debut on 5 June, with this his fourth cap, and in just the fourth minute he pushed a tame free-kick by Birmingham midfielder Jacques Maghoma on to the crossbar and Bolingi followed up to head in the rebound.
Right-back Issama Mpeko then released Bakambu and the Beijing Guoan midfielder, who moved to China last year for an African record fee, produced a composed finish to double Congo’s lead.
Zimbabwe almost pulled a goal back just before the hour mark as captain Knowledge Musona steered a low cross back towards goal and Congo keeper Ley Matampi made a fine reflex save to stop substitute Nyasha Mushekwi’s back-heel creeping into the bottom corner.
But Chipezeze then gave away a penalty as he brought down Bakambu, who sidefooted the spot-kick into the bottom corner for his 10th international goal, before Middlesbrough striker Assombalonga opened his Congo account, tapping in the rebound after Chipezeze spilled an Elia Meschak shot.