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Spirited Zambia hang on to claim crucial draw against DR Congo

DR Congo and Zambia were unable to be separated
After missing the tournament two years prior, two-time Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winners DR Congo failed to overcome Zambia, with Yoane Wissa levelling the scores after Kings Kangwa opened the scoring from distance.

Pre-tournament favourites Morocco earlier laid down the ultimate marker with a clinical 3-0 opening victory, meaning tonight’s sides may already be playing for second fiddle in Group F. 2012 AFCON victors Zambia haven’t tasted victory in the tournament since, but went ahead in remarkable circumstances via Kangwa.

The Leopards sweeper keeper Lionel Mpasi thought he should have been given a foul when committing himself 30 yards out. Unfortunately for him however, referee Bamlak Weyesa left Mpasi stranded when awarding Zambia a throw-in, taken quickly by Patson Daka and fired goalbound by Kangwa whose shot evaded two despairing defenders.

Sébastien Desabre was in despair throughout apparent VAR technical issues, but his side were back level inside four minutes through star man Wissa.

Fellow strike partner Cédric Bakambu was set free down the right, before unselfishly laying the ball across the six-yard box allowing Wissa the simple task to tap home for his fourth International goal.

Zambia were on the back foot from that point forward inviting wave after wave of DRC blue forward. They were breathing a huge sigh of relief when VAR overturned the referee’s decision to point to the spot for what looked like a handball from a sliding Tandi Mwape as he attempted to block Arthur Masuaku’s cross.

It wouldn’t be fair to say the Leopards were shot shy, but Wissa would have been lamenting his decision to try to return the earlier favour by passing to Bakambu when bearing down on goal. In the end, the chance was quelled, leaving Zambia with a point for the sixth time in their last seven AFCON appearances.