DR Congo have secured qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after they defeated Liberia 1-0 at Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa on Sunday afternoon.
The Leopards leapfrogged the Lone Stars on the Group G standings thanks to the victory – which was secured by a goal early in the second half from Cedric Bakambu – and secured what will be their 19th appearance at the AFCON finals.
DRC are joined in qualification for Egypt 2019 by Group G winners Zimbabwe, who defeated Congo in a concurrent game in Harare and will make their fourth AFCON showing.
DRC enjoyed more of the ball from early on and controlled the tempo of the game, though they lacked the energy and pace in the final third to really trouble Liberia’s defence.
The visitors had the best chance of the first half in the 36th minute, with a corner kick allowing Terrence Tisdell to send an effort on target, but it wasn’t enough to get the better of goalkeeper Ley Matampi.
The game was evenly balanced at half time, but the Leopards turned it in their favour seven minutes after the restart with Tresor Mputu providing a fine pass to set up Cedric Bakambu, who coolly finished past Ashley Williams to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Liberia looked for a way back into the game, which included sending on Newcastle United midfielder Mohammed Sangare for his international debut, but they were stymied by the resilient home side.
It was nonetheless a tense finish to the match, as the away side needed just one goal to secure a draw – which would have been enough to finish ahead of DRC on the group standings. However, Florent Ibenge’s stood firm to secure a decisive victory.
DR Congo (0) 1 (Bakambu 52’)
DRC: Matampi, Muzinga, Tisserand, Bakambu, Bolasie, Mpeko (Shabani 77’), Luyindama, Mbemba, M’Poku (Elia 73’), Mputu, Mulumbu (Bokadi 70’)
Liberia: Williams, Dennis, Dorley, Jebor, J. Johnson, S. Johnson, Maccorenel, Njie (Sangare 73’), Simujla, T. Tisdell, TL. Tisdell