Niger – Congo DR 24.01.2013
Niger face an uphill task of reaching the quarter-finals after losing their opening game to Mali,
and they are still searching for the first ever Africa Cup of Nations points. Congo DR will fancy their chances of winning this match after impressing in the 2-2 draw against tournament favourites Ghana.
Niger are contesting their second ever Africa Cup of Nations, hoping to show some improvement on their last participation, having lost all three group games at the 2012 tournament. Menas surprised everyone by qualifying for the tournament finals for the second time in a row, with 2-1 aggregate victory over Guinea proving sufficient, but they have since failed to prove they have what it takes to play at this level. Their 1-2-3 record in warm-up games is hardly impressive, especially seeing their opponents were mostly average African sides. This is why nobody was surprised to see Niger being completely outplayed by Mali in the opening AFCON fixture, and we can safely say they were fortunate to only lose the game by one goal. With their team desperately lacking both quality and experience, I really don’t see how Menas are going to stop Congo DR from winning this match.
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The two-time Africa Cup of Nations champions arrived in South Africa hoping to return to old glory days, and they had every right to feel optimistic ahead of the tournament kick-off. The Leopards had overcome Seychelles and Equatorial Guinea to qualify for the tournament finals, while narrowly losing to Cameroon and beating Togo at the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Congo DR had a really difficult task in their opening match, as they faced Ghana, one of the main candidates for the trophy, but they not only took a point from that game but came from two goals behind to frustrate their more illustrious opponents. Seeing that the good performance completely justified the stunning comeback, Congo DR players will be full of confidence before the all-important match against weak Niger. They are, therefore, expected to put the tie beyond doubt early on and make a giant step towards the quarter-finals.