Congo battle rivals DR Congo in Afcon humdinger

Congo battle rivals DR Congo in Afcon humdinger
RD Congo's striker Cedric Bakambu jubilates after scoring against Tunisia during the World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Tunisia and Congo in Tunis, Tunisia on 01 September 2017 © BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Friday Nov 16, 2018. 14:00

Congo host rivals Democratic Republic of Congo at Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat in Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon, in a crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Kick-off is at 16h30 CAT.

The two African neighbours currently occupy second and third spot respectively after four rounds of qualifiers. The visitors sit a mere point above Diables Rouges, with both countries having recorded one win from their allotted fixtures.

Cedric Bakambu bagged a brace for DR Congo in their 3-1 win over Congo in the reverse fixture last year, but despite the positive start, the Leopards failed to win any of their last three qualifiers.

Florent Ibengé's men recorded two 1-1 draws away to Liberia and Zimbabwe while also falling to a surprise defeat at home in Kinshasa to the Warriors who lead Group G on eight points.

Bakambu, though, will miss the reverse fixture in Congo having picked up an ankle injury while playing in China. The forward will also miss Beijing Guoan's Chinese FA Cup final matches against Shandong Luneng as a result.

DR Congo will also be without both Jonathan Bolingi and Gael Kakuta due to injury. The trio have been replaced with Ricky Tulenge, Britt Assombalonga and Kabongo Kasongo respectively.

Furthermore, Ibengé has recalled Tresor Mputu after a five-year absence and the forward's experience will be a valuable asset as the Leopards aim to upset their hosts. Celtic midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has also been named in the squad.

Congo recovered from a defeat and a draw in their opening two group games with a 3-1 win over Liberia, only to lose to the Lone Stars in Monrovia in their most recent qualifier.

Victory for DR Congo coupled with a win for Zimbabwe would seal their place at next year's showpiece in Cameroon.

The last round of qualifiers will take place in March next year.

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