DR Congo gave themselves a chance of qualifying for the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 4-0 win over Zimbabwe.

Congo lost their first two games in Egypt but Jonathan Bolingi and Cedric Bakambu struck in the first half.

Bakambu added a penalty before substitute Britt Assombalonga improved Congo’s goal difference late on.

That saw them finish above Zimbabwe and they must wait to see if they are one of four third-placed teams to qualify.

Zimbabwe had to make a late change to their starting line-up when goalkeeper George Chigova was injured in the warm-up. His replacement was Elvis Chipezeze, their third-choice keeper, because Edmore Sibanda is also injured.

The 29-year-old only made his international debut on 5 June, with this his fourth cap, and in just the fourth minute he pushed a tame free-kick by Birmingham midfielder Jacques Maghoma on to the crossbar and Bolingi followed up to head in the rebound.

Right-back Issama Mpeko then released Bakambu and the Beijing Guoan midfielder, who moved to China last year for an African record fee, produced a composed finish to double Congo’s lead.

Zimbabwe almost pulled a goal back just before the hour mark as captain Knowledge Musona steered a low cross back towards goal and Congo keeper Ley Matampi made a fine reflex save to stop substitute Nyasha Mushekwi’s back-heel creeping into the bottom corner.

But Chipezeze then gave away a penalty as he brought down Bakambu, who sidefooted the spot-kick into the bottom corner for his 10th international goal, before Middlesbrough striker Assombalonga opened his Congo account, tapping in the rebound after Chipezeze spilled an Elia Meschak shot.

Energy, flair and fight – analysis

John Bennett, BBC World Service in Cairo:

It’s a waiting game now for DR Congo at this Cup of Nations.

The players will be nervously watching the matches over the next two days from their hotel in Cairo, hoping they’ve done enough with three points and zero goal difference to be one of the four best third-placed teams.

It was an excellent performance, full of energy, flair and fight.

You’re just left wondering where the energy, flair and fight was in the first two games, particularly the opener against Uganda when they were awful.

As for Zimbabwe, they failed to build on a promising performance in their opening match against Egypt and they never really got going against DRC. It didn’t help of course that they had a third-choice keeper in goal and he was at fault for three of the goals. A nightmare performance.

I witnessed a lovely moment after Brit Assombalonga’s first ever DRC goal. His dad was in tears with his head in his hands watching from the stands. He also played for DRC at the Cup of Nations.

Line-ups

Zimbabwe

  • 13ChipezezeBooked at 64mins
  • 2Darikwa
  • 22Mhlanga
  • 15Hadebe
  • 4Pfumbidzai
  • 8MunetsiSubstituted forKadewereat 70′minutes
  • 3Phiri
  • 10Karuru
  • 7ChawapiwaSubstituted forMushekwiat 52′minutes
  • 17MusonaSubstituted forMahachiat 80′minutes
  • 11Billiat

Substitutes

  • 6Mudimu
  • 9Rusike
  • 12Dzingai
  • 14Kadewere
  • 19Mutizwa
  • 20Mahachi
  • 21Kamusoko
  • 23Mushekwi

DR Congo

  • 1Matampi
  • 2MpekoBooked at 70mins
  • 22MbembaBooked at 59mins
  • 5Tisserand
  • 3Muzinga
  • 6AkoloSubstituted forLuyindamaat 83′minutes
  • 7MulumbuSubstituted forEliaat 76′minutes
  • 12MokeBooked at 61mins
  • 20Maghoma
  • 9BolingiSubstituted forAssombalongaat 45+1′minutes
  • 17Bakambu

Substitutes

  • 4Ungenda
  • 8Mputu
  • 10M’Poku
  • 11Bolasie
  • 13Elia
  • 14Masuaku
  • 15Luyindama
  • 16Mossi
  • 19Assombalonga
  • 21Shabani
  • 23Mandanda
Referee:
Mustapha Ghorbal

Match Stats

Home TeamZimbabweAway TeamDR Congo
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home15
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away9
Corners
Home8
Away0
Fouls
Home16
Away27

Live Text

Match ends, Zimbabwe 0, Congo DR 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Zimbabwe 0, Congo DR 4.

Attempt saved. Tinotenda Kadewere (Zimbabwe) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Danny Phiri.

Attempt saved. Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tinotenda Kadewere.

Danny Phiri (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Meschak Elia (Congo DR).

Attempt missed. Danny Phiri (Zimbabwe) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Ronald Pfumbidzai.

Attempt saved. Britt Assombalonga (Congo DR) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ngonda Muzinga.

Lawrence Mhlanga (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Congo DR).

Attempt saved. Tinotenda Kadewere (Zimbabwe) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kudakwashe Mahachi with a cross.

Corner, Zimbabwe. Conceded by Chancel Mbemba.

Substitution

Substitution, Congo DR. Christian Luyindama replaces Chadrac Akolo.

Foul by Tinotenda Kadewere (Zimbabwe).

Wilfred Moke (Congo DR) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nyasha Mushekwi (Zimbabwe).

Chancel Mbemba (Congo DR) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Zimbabwe. Kudakwashe Mahachi replaces Knowledge Musona.

Ronald Pfumbidzai (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Chadrac Akolo (Congo DR).

Goal!

Goal! Zimbabwe 0, Congo DR 4. Britt Assombalonga (Congo DR) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Meschak Elia (Congo DR) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marcel Tisserand.

Foul by Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe).

Issama Mpeko (Congo DR) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Congo DR. Meschak Elia replaces Youssouf Mulumbu.

Lawrence Mhlanga (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Congo DR).

Offside, Zimbabwe. Knowledge Musona tries a through ball, but Nyasha Mushekwi is caught offside.

Lawrence Mhlanga (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Congo DR).

Lawrence Mhlanga (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cédric Bakambu (Congo DR).

Nyasha Mushekwi (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marcel Tisserand (Congo DR).

Booking

Issama Mpeko (Congo DR) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Zimbabwe. Tinotenda Kadewere replaces Marshall Munetsi.

Khama Billiat (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Issama Mpeko (Congo DR).

Attempt missed. Knowledge Musona (Zimbabwe) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Danny Phiri (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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