Madagascar attracted a lot of attention when they run out 2-0 winners over Nigerian. Some sceptics though attributed the victory to the five changes Gernot Rohr made to his team………Madagascar qualified top of the group and set-up a clash with DR Congo in the Round of 16.
In the 9th minute, Ibrahim Amada struck a pile driver which zoomed into the top left corner – Madagascar’s high pressing and possession based game yielded dividends very early. But in the 21st minute, Cedric Bakambu headed in Glodi Ngonda’s cross……..that kind of defending prevented Madagascar from winning the game within 90 minutes.
Madagascar were very organized with and without the ball within the 90 minutes – D.R Congo knew it and resorted to relying on long balls and set-pieces.
The game spurred on with Madagascar bossing possession whiles D.R Congo also set up to catch Madagascar off guard with their long balls.
Madagascar looked primed for victory when in the 77th minute, Faneva Andriatsima’s diving header found the bottom left corner.
In the 90th minute, D.R Congo had a corner kick. Meshack Elia stepped up to take it. Elia’s cross found the head of Chancel Mbemba whose header skipped past Melvin Adrien for the equalizer. On to extra time, shall we?
An obviously deflated Madagascar had to find inspiration so when Adrien clawed away Mbemba’s goal bound header in the 99th minute, they definitely knew it was going to be their night.
Madagascar’s defense stood resolute and repelled D.R Congo’s extra time onslaught.
On to the dreaded penalty shoot outs…… Ibrahim Amada, Romain Metanire, Thomas Fontaine and Jerome Mombris expertly converted for Madagascar, Marcel Tisserand missed D.R Congo’s first spot kick, Cedric Bakambu and Paul-Jose M’Poku converted and star man, Yannick Bolasie missed D.R Congo’s decisive spot kick. Again, another “giant” falls!
Madagascar, a team ranked 108th in the World and 15th in Africa has risen to the occasion.
Did you say Madagascar are minnows?