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2018 World Cup Qualifying - CAF, Round Three
  • Chancel Mbemba (9')
  • Paul-José Mpoku (47')
  • Moke (77' OG)
  • Anice Badri (79')

DR Congo's World Cup hopes fade after late Tunisia comeback

Ali Maaloul of Tunisia, DR Congo's Jordon Ikoko BackpagePix

Tunisia boosted their hopes of reaching a first World Cup since 2006 when they scored twice within two second-half minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw against the Democratic Republic of Congo to retain top spot in Group A.

Goals from Chancel Mbemba and Paul-Jose Mpoku gave the Leopards a stranglehold on the match and saw them temporarily move above their opponents in the standings on goal difference, avenging their 2-1 defeat in Rades on Friday.

However, Tunisia, inspired by Youssef Msakni and substitute Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, hit their hosts with a sucker-punch 12 minutes from time, when Wilfred Moke halved the deficit with an own goal before another substitute, Anice Badri, levelled the contest.

The result eliminates both Guinea and Libya, and keeps the North Africans three points clear at the top of the group. They'll secure their place in Russia if they win in Conakry in early October, while the DRC face Libya away in 'neutral' Tunisia.

After an encouraging performance away in which they were arguably unfortunate to lose, Florent Ibenge's side took the initiative in front of a packaged Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa, and took the lead in the ninth minute when captain Mbemba headed home Gael Kakuta's excellent free kick.

Potentially capitalising on Tunisian nerves, Congo extended their lead in the 47th minute when M'Poku struck on the counter.

Heading into the final 10 minutes, Nabil Maaloul's side were handed a lifeline when the unfortunate Moke diverted Mohamed Amine Ben Amor's low strike from close range past Ley Matampi.

Badri broke Congolese hearts almost immediately from the restart when Tunisia wrestled possession back from their hopes and Ben Youssef played in the ES Tunis wideman with a delightful dink, leaving the 26-year-old to slam home an emphatic equaliser.

WC Qual - CAF News