Zaire won a place in the semi-finals of the African Nations' Cup on Thursday (7 March) with a four-one victory over Mauritius.
Zaire won a place in the semi-finals of the African Nations' Cup on Thursday (7 March) with a four-one victory over Mauritius. Playing before an enthusiastic crowd in the Egyptian town of Damanhour, the two teams put on an exciting display of the art of soccer.
Three Zaire goals came in the first half, leaving Mauritius a daunting task. They did manage to pull one goal back, but only after Zaire had pulled further ahead, making the final score four-one. The win was good for the Zaire team's morale - they had been beaten two-one on Tuesday (5 March) by the Congo.
A display of determined play - fast moves and quick action - reflected Zaire's intention not only to win but to prove their potential as African representatives in the World Cup competition later this year.
On Saturday (9 March) Zaire went through to the finals of the tournament beating the home team Egypt 3-2.
SYNOPSIS: The final game in the preliminary rounds of the Ninth African Nation's Cup currently underway in Egypt. The teams - Mauritius and Zaire. Zaire kicked off to start the game, playing from fight to left.
Early int he match, Mauritius had a chance to take the lead. A throw-in gave the team's forwards an opportunity to take the ball down-field. But Zaire's goal-keeper was on form, making a copy-book save.
Zaire were soon taking command of the game. A fumble at the Mauritian goal - mouth gave Kanoko his chance. Slamming the ball into the back of the net, he put Zaire ahead one-nil.
Already it had the makings of an exciting game, and the Egyptian spectator knew it. A chance for Zaire to increase the lead was defeated when the attacker was caught offside -- and the "goal" disallowed.
Mauritius kept up a lively series of counter-attacks. This move was brought to a halt when a Mauritian player was tripped up by one of the defenders.
Mauritius had a chance of equalising from the free-kick. Under pressure, the Zaire defence gave away a free kick -- although Mauritius made repeated attacks, they just could not get the ball into the net.
Soon Zaire were back on the attack. From the centre, Mayanga did the honours, putting his team a commanding two goals ahead.
Although they were trailing, the Mauritian side had the consolation of knowing they were up against Africa's hopes in this year's World Cup Finals.
And the World Cup team were showing the crowd they had earned that place -- scoring a third goal, once again by Mahanga.
Trailing three-nil at half-time, the Mauritian team had quite a task ahead of them -- even to equalise. But although they seemed willing to meet the Zaire team's attack, their lack of experience in international soccer was letting them down. It was the first time a Mauritian team had qualified for the final stages of the African Nation's Cup.
Meantime, the fast-moving Zaire attack was in action again. Nine minutes after the half-time whistle, Nday had made it four-nil for Zaire.
With the game drawing to an end, the Mauritian side stepped up their attacks. Zaire seemed content with their impressive score, and were opening up the play. But this gave the Mauritians a chance to score. It was Centre Forward John Imbert who made the goal, fifteen minutes before full-time.
So, with a four-one victory, Zaire to through to the semi-finals of the Ninth African Nation's Cup.