Africa: Nothing to Separate Cote d'Ivoire and DR Congo in Annaba

There was nothing to separate DR Congo and Cote D'Ivoire at the 19 Mai 1956 Stadium in Annaba on Wednesday evening, after both sides played out to a highly tactical 0-0 stalemate to share the spoils in their second Group B match of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship.

Both sides came into the clash desperate for a victory to keep their tournament hopes alive with DR Congo having played to a 0-0 draw against Uganda, while the Ivorians suffered a 1-0 defeat to Senegal last week.

The result sees both sides remaining in their Group B positions with DR Congo maintaining their second spot, while Cote D'Ivoire remain rooted at the bottom.

Both sides struggled to find their rhythm in the opening minutes, which resulted in a cagey affair before the first chance at goal only coming in the 20th minute for Cote D'Ivoire, after Vignon Ouotro did well to create space for himself and fire a shot at goal that unfortunately lacked the accuracy.

Jean Mundele should have found the opener for DR Congo in the 24th minute after a quick transitional play concluded with the forward being free on goal but fired a tame effort which was comfortably saved by Ayayi Folly.

A golden opportunity presented itself for the Ivorians at the half hour mark when goalkeeper, Siaidi Baggio's failed clearance attempt fell in the path of Ouotro, who missed the target by a few inches from outside the box.

With momentum on their side, the Ivorians could have went into the break with the lead after a well-taken corner found its way to Sidiki Mohamed, who did well to connect with the ball with the outside of his foot but saw his effort come off the woodwork to the relief of DR Congo.

Coming into the second half, both sides went in search of the early lead with DR Congo seemingly having the upper hand with their quick passing game that opened up the Ivorian defence.

The Ivorians found themselves under immense pressure towards the closing stages of the match after Mohamed Zougrana received his marching orders following a dangerous tackle on Phillippes Kinzumbi.

The introduction of Sankara Karamoko almost worked in the favour of the Ivorians after the teenage sensation did well to beat his marker and fire a dangerous strike at goal which was saved by the alert Baggio in the 87th minute.

Up next for Cote D'Ivoire will be a decisive encounter against Uganda in Baraki while DR Congo will come face to face with Senegal in Annaba in what promises to be a photo-finish race for Group B.

Both matches will kick off at 20h00 GMT on Sunday, 22 January.

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