Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Hosts, Congo in African Cup semis

Published:Sunday | February 1, 2015 | 12:01 AM
AP Equatorial Guinea's Javier Balboa (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Ivan Edu Salvador (left) during their African Cup of Nations quarter-final match against Tunisia yesterday.

BATA, Equatorial Guinea (AP):

Hosts Equatorial Guinea and Congo advanced to the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations yesterday.

The hosts benefited from a hotly disputed penalty in the last minute of normal time to go on and beat Tunisia 2-1 in extra time, while Congo came from two goals down to beat Republic of Congo 4-2.

Mauritian referee Rajindra-parsad Seechurn ruled that Ivan Bolado was fouled in the 90th minute with Equatorial Guinea trailing 1-0, and on the way out of their home tournament.

Javier Balboa scored from the spot kick deep in stoppage time, and curled in a brilliant free kick in the first half of extra time to send Equatorial Guinea to the semi-finals for the first time.

The penalty was the turning point, and Seechurn's highly contentious decision sparked fury from Tunisian players, and the coaching staff on the sidelines. There were ugly confrontations between both camps near the dugouts after the decision, and riot police even moved in to restore order.

In the other quarter-final, Dieumerci Mbokani scored his second in stoppage time as Congo responded with four goals in the last 25 minutes to deny their neighbours and namesakes.

lacklustre first half

Both Congos reacted to a lacklustre first half with a pulsating second 45 minutes at Bata Stadium in the first knockout game.

Dore Ferebory gave Republic of Congo the lead in the 55th when he drifted in behind the defence at a free kick and flicked home a right-foot volley.

Thievy Bifouma made it 2-0 seven minutes later after some chaotic defending led to him sweeping in a loose ball from close range for his tournament-leading third goal in four games.