Egypt: Led by the legendary Mohamed Salah, Egypt boasted arguably the most talented squad in the tournament. However, concerns swirled about their recent inconsistent form.
DR Congo: Underdogs with a talented young generation, DR Congo were playing with the freedom of no expectations, hoping to pull off an upset.
The game was a tense affair, filled with drama and nail-biting moments. Here's a breakdown:
The first half was a cautious affair, with both teams feeling each other out. Egypt had more possession but struggled to break down the DR Congo defense. Meschak Elia almost put DR Congo ahead in the 37th minute with a curling shot that went just wide.
The second half saw Egypt step up the pressure. Mohamed Salah had a couple of dangerous chances, but failed to find the net. In the 45th minute, Mostafa Mohamed finally broke the deadlock with a well-placed penalty after a handball in the box. The Egyptians looked poised to cruise to victory.
However, DR Congo refused to give up. In the 82nd minute, a mistake by the Egyptian defense allowed Isaac Tshibangu to cross for Meschak Elia, who headed home the equalizer with a powerful finish. The game went into extra time, still anyone's to win.
After a scoreless extra time, the match went to a penalty shootout, a nerve-wracking affair. Both teams missed their first penalties, but then it became a tense back-and-forth. Unfortunately for Egypt, Mohamed Salah, their talisman, missed his penalty at the crucial moment. DR Congo goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi made the winning save, sending DR Congo into the quarterfinals in a historic upset.
~ DR Congo's defensive discipline and determination frustrated Egypt's star-studded attack.
~ Mohamed Salah's missed penalty proved pivotal in Egypt's heartbreaking defeat.
~ DR Congo's victory was a major upset and a fairytale story for the underdog team.