DR Congo vs Equatorial Guinea | Saturday 07 February | Malabo | 18:00
After two very heated semi-finals, we find ourselves with just two games remaining in AFCON 2015. Most will agree that the finalists have deservedly found their way to the last two in the tournament, leaving DR Congo and hosts, Equatorial Guinea, to fight it out for third place. After the appalling behavior of the home supporters in Thursday night’s second semi-final, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game doesn’t take place. However, it should go ahead as scheduled and we’re in for ninety minutes that are sure to surpass the confines of ‘just another football game’.
To Win (90mins)
Equatorial Guinea 18/10
DR Congo 15/20
Equatorial Guinea 19/20
Up until their 3-1 semi-final loss to Ivory Coast, DR Congo had gone unbeaten in AFCON 2015, holding off competitive sides like Tunisia and rivals, Congo, who were on a great run under inspiring coach Claude Le Roy. One always thought the final was probably a step too far for them, and it seemed inevitable that they were going to be outclassed by star-studded Ivory Coast. Wilfried Bony, although not getting on the scoresheet, was unstoppable that evening and if the Leopards allow something like that to happen again on Saturday night, they could be exposed to another defeat. Dieumerci Mbokani has been vital for DR Congo’s success with three goals so far and the Dynamo Kyiv striker will need to continue his international form to assist them in overcoming what’s sure to be an intense onslaught from Equatorial Guinea, and their crazed supporters.
Thursday night’s display of poor sportsmanship from the locals may have been more embarrassing than their on-field performance. The hosts progressed past the quarter-finals in controversial fashion and when things weren’t going their way in their 3-0 drubbing against Ghana, their fans turned on the referee and opposition players and supporters to vent their unfounded frustration. You always felt this wasn’t how the home team wanted things to go and the evident pleas from them for calm couldn’t prevent the turmoil from ensuing. Sadly, instead of assessing their potential on the field, you have to feel the proverbial ‘twelfth man’ may be the biggest factor in this one. If the crowd decide to impose themselves again, we could well see the game getting cut short, refereeing decisions being influenced or DR Congo simply conceding defeat in what would become a mere exhibition match. I’d like to see an open contest, so let’s hope that happens.
VERDICT: Equatorial Guinea/Draw Double Chance 9/20
Pessimistically, I’m going for the double chance result at ninety minutes. We could well see extra time if the game goes this far, but it’s going to be tough for DR Congo to walk away with the honours. Have a small punt on the double chance for interest’s sake but we could well see a game where the performances off the pitch influence the result. I’d love to be proved wrong.