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Niger, DR Congo in stalemate

25 January 2013, 07:30

Port Elizabeth - Niger created Africa Cup of Nations history on Thursday by collecting their first point after drawing 0-0 with the Democratic Republic in a dull Group B game.

The west Africans ended a four-match losing streak in the competition after they lost all three group matches last year in Gabon, and also lost their opening match in this Indian Ocean city to Mali last weekend.

However, they remain bottom of the table with one point. Ghana are on top with four followed by Mali with three and DR Congo with two and all four teams have a chance of making the quarter-finals.

The final matches in this group are scheduled for Monday with Niger facing Ghana here and DR Congo taking on Mali in Durban.
Niger created a great chance after just four minutes when Modibo Sidibe was put through on goal, but his shot came back off the foot of the post with goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba beaten.

In the 13th minute, Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly saved well to deny Dieumerci Mbokani his second goal of this competition.

The Anderlecht striker was all alone inside the box and had the time to control the ball before he shot, but Kassaly went down to push the ball to safety.

The Nigerien Mena (Gazelles) gained in confidence as they continued to dictate the pace against the more fancied Leopards.

In the 35th minute, the Congolese could have taken the lead against the run of play, but Youssouf Mulumbu from English Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion saw his shot from inside the box scream wide.

DR Congo come close to breaking the deadlock three minutes before half-time, but Kassaly made another top-class save from point-blank range to deny Mbokani.

In the second half, Niger had more attempts to score with captain Maazou Moussa firing at goal, but Kidiaba scrambled the ball away for a corner.

Kidiaba also pulled off a fine save from a Moussa header.



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