In a surprising turn of events, Egypt, renowned seven-time AFCON champions, saw their quest for glory come to an end in a nail-biting penalty shootout, losing 8-7 to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the last-16 match on Sunday.
Despite a unique attempt to summon luck by sacrificing a cow earlier in the week, Egypt faced heartbreak as Lionel Mpasi’s crucial penalty secured an epic victory for the Congolese.
Egypt’s goalkeeper, Mohamed Abou Gabal, experienced a miss that proved costly, hitting the crossbar, while Mpasi sealed the fate with a successful shot.
The jubilant scenes for the Congo DR marked their advancement to the quarterfinals, where they will clash with Guinea in Abidjan on Friday.
Unfortunately for Egypt, Mohamed Salah’s return from injury to lift the trophy was not to be.
The match showcased Meschack Elia giving Congo DR an early lead, answered by Mostafa Mohamed’s penalty just before halftime.
The game took a dramatic turn in extra time when Egypt’s Mohamed Hamdy received a red card. Despite missing their star player Salah, Egypt held on defensively, pushing the encounter into a shootout.
This defeat for Egypt marks the end of their AFCON journey and highlights the unpredictability of football, with Congo DR relishing a memorable victory reminiscent of their triumph over Egypt 50 years ago in the semifinals.
The match also extends both teams’ streaks of draws, adding another chapter to their recent tournament history in Cote d’Ivoire.