Third place playoff
DR Congo vs Eq. Guinea 6pm SS5
MALABO – Africa Cup of Nations hosts Equatorial Guinea will look to redeem themselves in the third-place playoff against DR Congo tonight at Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.
Though the tournament hosts put together a remarkable run to reach the last four – easily their best Afcon showing – their 3-0 defeat to Ghana in the semifinals and the shameful behaviour of their fans at the end of that match has threatened to take the gloss off their achievements.
“I am really sad with what happened with the supporters,” Equatorial Guinea coach Esteban Becker said, though the Argentine is hopeful that his side can give the local fans something to cheer about by finishing in third place.
The Leopards of DRC, meanwhile, have enjoyed their best tournament since finishing third at the 1998 Afcon in Burkina Faso. Nonetheless, their 3-1 defeat to Ivory Coast in the semifinal was a bitter pill to swallow, as the match was much closer fought than the scoreline suggests.
Coach Florent Ibenge was rightly proud of his team for their strong showing and will hope they can end on a high in the third-place playoff on Saturday night in Malabo.
“I am disappointed with the defeat, we are competitors, we wanted to qualify, but we saw a team that must not be ashamed of their performance, that showed a good side of Congolese football,” Ibenge said.
“This team doesn’t have a lot of games behind her, six in the qualifiers and five here. It takes time and there were serious players on the other side. My players ran, they had some desire, but they lacked some maturity to disturb a well organised side.”
Equatorial Guinea and DRC have met in just two previous official international matches. Both took place in the qualifiers for the 2013 Afcon – Nzalang Nacional won 2-1 in Malabo, while the Leopards claimed an emphatic 4-0 win in the return game in Kinshasa.