Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Ghana coach seething after Congo comeback
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: The Black Stars, among the tournament favourites, are held in Group B opener
Congo staged an unlikely comeback to snatch a draw and leave Black Stars coach Akwasi Appiah seething at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Appiah had been bullish about his teams hopes of winning a fifth title – and their first in 30 years – in South Africa but on the evidence of this collapse, they will need to sharpen up in concluding group games with Mali and Niger.
After two goalless Group A encounters, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu slid home from Kwadwo Asamoah’s pass to score the first goal of the tournament after 40 minutes.
Juventus midfielder Asamoah then doubled the advantage just five minutes after the restart, muscling himself into space and heading in at the far post.
But no-one can argue that DC Congo’s comeback was not fully deserved after they made the brighter start in an entertaining encounter in Port Elizabeth.
Despite their build-up being overshadowed by a row over bonus payments, which had coach Claude LeRoy threatening to quit, they always looked a match for their more fancied rivals.
Former Newcastle and Portsmouth striker Lomana Lua Lua was a constant irritant while both he and Anderlecht striker Dieumerci Mbokani brought smart saves out of Ghana keeper Fatau Dauda during the first-half.
And Ghana, who had come into the tournament off the back off of 3-0 and 4-2 wins over Egypt and Tunisia, finally saw their lead wiped out in less than 20 second half minutes.
Tresor Mputu reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute and Mbokani, with 23 goals in Belgium already this season, netted from the spot after being dragged down inside the box by Jerry Akaminko.
Ghana seemed stunned by the reversal but one-time Sunderland man Asamoah Gyan still had a chance to snatch maximum points, only to be denied by Congo keeper Robert Kidiaba,
While Duada also produced a brilliant stop to push Youssouf Mulumbu’s late shot around the post.
After a stuttering start to the tournament this was much more like it – although suggesting as much to a fuming Appiah would probably not be wise.