Junior Kabananga scored the only goal as 10-man DR Congo claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Morocco in their African Nations Cup opener in Oyem.
After a build-up blighted by off-field issues, DR Congo dug deep and snatched victory after Kabananga pounced on a goalkeeping error on 55 minutes.
Substitute Joyce Lomalisa was sent off for a second bookable offence nine minutes from time and Gabriel Zakuani also limped through the latter stages but Florent Ibenge's side held on.
An opening Group C victory for DR Congo seemed unlikely as Morocco made a superb start.
Aziz Bouhaddouz headed wide in the first minute and Mbark Boussoufa went closer moments later with a shot that hit the bar.
Boussoufa fired another effort wide and Manuel da Costa also missed the target with a header.
DR Congo did not start to seriously threaten until close to half an hour gone when Cedric Bakambu forced a save from Munir Mohand and Chancel Mbemba shot wide.
The complexion of the game changed 10 minutes into the second half when Mohand oddly decided to clear a low cross from the left with his feet rather than gathering. He succeeded only in presenting a chance to Kabananga that was lapped up.
Morocco struggled to get back into the game but were offered a potential lifeline when Lomalisa, booked earlier for time-wasting, was dismissed after poor challenge on Faycal Fajr.
Youssef El-Arabi went close to grabbing a late equaliser but Ley Matampi saved his powerful header.