Jan 25, 2015 at 6pm UK
Burkina Faso
FT(HT: 0-0)
Bance (86')

Live Commentary: Congo 2-1 Burkina Faso - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of the Africa Cup of Nations match between Burkina Faso and Congo.

Congo held off a late comeback from Burkina Faso to progress to the quarter-finals at the Africa Cup of Nations as Group A winners.

After a goalless first half, it looked like a second-half strike from Thievy Bifouma would be enough for Congo.

However, Aristide Bance got the 2013 runners-up back on level terms, before a goalkeeping error down the other end less than two minutes later gifted Fabrice N'Guessi the winner.

Read how all the action unfolded below:

5.32pmGood evening! The final round of matches in Group A in the Africa Cup of Nations get underway in half an hour, with both quarter-final places still up for grabs. Let's start with a look at the team news.

5.34pmCONGO STARTING XI: Mafoumbi, Moutou, Nganga, Baudry, Babele, Magnokele, Ndinga, Oniangue, Litsingi, Bifouma, Ferebory

5.36pmBURKINA FASO STARTING XI: Sanou, Yago, Goua, Koffi, Bakary Kone, Nakoulma, Kabore, Razack Traore, Djakaridja Kone, Pitroipa, Alain Traore

5.39pmBurkina Faso were sweating on the fitness of defender Issa Goua and Jonathan Zongo coming into this match, and while Goua has overcome a knock to take his place in the starting lineup, Zongo misses out again. Somewhat surprisingly, lively striker Aristide Bance is left on the bench, with Alain Traore and Jonathan Pitroipa preferred up front this evening.

5.42pmPrince Oniangue will be hoping for another inspirational performance as Congo captain after scoring the only goal in their 1-0 win over Gabon earlier this week. Thievy Bifouma and Ferebory Dore will continue their lively strike partnership, but they're joined by Francis Listinsi this afternoon. It's certainly a starting lineup capable of scoring goals for Congo.

5.45pmAhead of this match, Burkina Faso coach Paul Put told reporters: "We know we are in a difficult position but I think anything is possible so we have to believe still in our chances. We know we have to win, so we have to go for the victory, but not foolishly, not open, but with consideration, because Congo has a good team, so we have to be smart. In football anything is possible, nobody was expecting Burkina Faso in the final [in 2013], so I always tell my players we play game by game, and we will see how far we can go."

5.48pmMeanwhile, coach Claude LeRoy, who is hoping that Congo will give him his seventh appearance in the quarter-finals with five different nations, told BBC Sport: "It's a dream now, I will see if it becomes a reality. I won't play for a draw. If you want that you have to change the coach."

5.51pmThe remaining two sides in Group A, host nation Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, also kickoff at 6pm. You can also follow live updates from that match with Sports Mole this evening by clicking here.

5.53pmThis will be the first time that Congo and Burkina Faso have come up against each other in the Africa Cup of Nations, but they face met seven times before in other competitions. Historically, they've been closely matched, each winning three times, with one previous match ending in a draw. Burkina Faso haven't lost or conceded in the last three though.

5.54pmThe players are on the pitch for the pre-match formalities, which will include, as always, the national anthems for both sides.

5.57pmPREDICTION! While the anthems are underway, there's just time for a quick prediction. Burkina Faso have looked a shadow of the side that made the final two years ago, while Congo have been energetic and full of confidence, and they've gone with an attacking lineup this evening. I think Congo will get the win, so I'm going for 2-0 to Claude LeRoy's side.

5.59pmThe players come together for a group photo ahead of kickoff, which should just be a few moments away now.

1 minKICKOFF! Burkina Faso get the match underway.

3 minCongo force a free kick in a dangerous area just moments after kickoff. Delvin Ndinga tries to curl it in towards captain Prince Oniangue, but his low delivery is blocked by the wall.

5 minJonathan Pitroipa has failed to match the performances that saw him named player of the tournament two years ago, but he appears to be through to put the Congo keeper under pressure early on. However, the forward is flagged for offside the moment he collects the pass forward from Traore, and he can't really have any complaints.

7 minCHANCE! Pitroipa is in again, and this time he times his run perfectly, outjumping Babele to get his header away, but it's a fraction wide. Bakary Kone tries to lob it forward again for Pitroipa, but he's flagged offside again.

10 minCongo try to get back down the other end, and they win a corner when Yago turns Oniangue's cross behind. Moutou whips the ball in towards Bifouma, but it's put behind for a goal kick.

11 minBurkina Faso are back down the other end straight away, with Traore curling the ball back in. Koffi bursts forward to try and nod it in, but he can't quite get up high enough, allowing Congo to get it clear.

13 minBifouma races towards the Burkina Faso box as he tries to create something for the current Group A leaders. He has to battle with Yago for possession though, and the defender goes down somewhat easily, but is awarded the free kick, much to the surprise of Bifouma, who has been a star for Congo in their first two matches.

15 minIssa Gouo fires in a cross for the 2013 finalists, and Christoffer Mafoumbi waits on his line for his defender's to deal with it, which seems an odd call. N'Ganga and Baudry deal with a potentially tricky situation well though, despite Traore looking to steal the ball for a shot.

18 minBurkina Faso keep the ball in midfield, but lose patience when they can't find a way through, so try to force something with a long ball forward for Pitroipa, but once again the striker is a little too quick, and drifts offside before the high ball reaches him. That's four times Pitroipa has been ruled offside so far.

21 minCHANCE! Congo also punish Burkina Faso for a mistake as Moutou intercepts a pass in midfield before picking out Bifouma with a well-timed through-ball. The striker scuffs his shot though, dragging it just wide of the far post.

24 minBurkina Faso might have had the majority of the ball so far, but Congo look sharp when they get the ball, with Bifouma and Ferebory Dore piling into the Burkina Faso penalty area again, but the latter's finish failed the trouble the keeper.

26 minDelvin Ndinga gives away a free kick in a dangerous position when he goes in late on Pitroipa. Burkina Faso take it quickly, but N'Ganga forces Pitroipa to scuff the ball behind for a goal kick.

29 minBurkina Faso waste another promising move when Pitroipa once again finds himself offside. The striker has cost his team a string of chances so far. He's playing as a centre-forward this evening, rather than his usual winger-striker hybrid role, and he just looks a touch off the pace.

32 minFerebory Dore is caught by Bakary Kone around 35 yards out to give Congo a free kick in a promising position, but Moutou ends up lobbing it behind while trying to force it in from the edge of the box.

34 minCongo are quickly back on the attack, with Bifouma looking to collect from a Moutou cross, but the midfielder's delivery is collected by Germain Sanou.

35 minPENALTY APPEAL! Thievy Bifouma wants a spot kick as he's brought down while battling with Kone and Yago in the box, but the referee isn't interested. He appears to have picked up a knock in the process though, which is a worry for Congo, they won't want to lose him.

37 minIt looks like Bifouma will be alright to carry on after a quick check over by the Congo medical team. The striker took a knock just before half time in their last match, but was able to carry on and play the full 90 minutes. Congo will be hoping that that is the case this time.

38 minCHANCE! Pitroipa drops back into midfield and turns provider, picking out Prejuce Nakoulma with a superb through-ball, but the winger's first touch is poor, and it bobbles through harmlessly to Mafoumbi.

40 minCHANCE! Pitroipa is back on the goal hunt for Burkina Faso as Gouo crosses it in for Traore, who tees it up for Pitroipa, but the ball just didn't fall for the striker, and he was crowded out while looking to hit it on the turn.

42 minBifouma does a few stepovers while looking to get a cross in, and he catches out Yago, tricking the defender into a foul. It gives Congo a free kick on the wing just 30 yards out, but the curling ball into the box is easily claimed by Sanou.

44 minBurkina Faso try a long ball forward again, this time looking for Alain Traore. Sagesse Babele appears to have it covered, but he's almost clattered out of the way on the edge of the box by his goalkeeper. Mafoumbi does admittedly get it clear, but it was a crazy decision, as Babele was comfortably in control of the situation, and he seems more than a little surprised to see the keeper lurching over him.

45+1 minMafoumbi makes amends for his mix-up a few minutes earlier as he comes off his line to punch it away as Burkina Faso have a corner on the stroke of half time.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Congo 0-0 Burkina Faso

6.48pmAfter 45 minutes, it's still all square between Congo and Burkina Faso. Thievy Bifouma had the best chance of the first half, slicing just wide for Congo, while Burkina Faso have relied too much on Jonathan Pitroipa with a one-dimensional long ball approach. However, it means that it is still all to play for in the second half.

6.50pmUPDATE: In the other Group A match currently underway, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea have also reached half time without any goals. If both matches were to finish as they are now, Congo would progress as group winners, while Gabon would go through as runners-up.

6.53pmHere's a rather ominous stat for Burkina Faso supporters:

6.56pmLet's take a look at some of the other statistics from the match so far. Burkina Faso saw quite a bit more of the ball in the opening 45 minutes, with 65% possession. However, both sides had four shots, with just one on target for the 2013 runners-up. Discipline has been a bit of a problem for Burkina Faso though, they've conceded 12 fouls to Congo's eight.

6.59pmBoth sides have options on the bench should they want to try and force a winner. Burkina Faso certainly need to if they're to stay in this competition. Aristide Bance would be an obvious choice. He can be hit and miss, but on his day he is unstoppable. Hibernian striker Dominique Malonga could be an option for Congo, while Ladislas Dounima of Guingamp is also on the bench.

7.01pmThe players are back out ready for the second half.

46 minKICKOFF! Congo get the second half underway.

47 minCHANCE! Bifouma and Yago immediately resume their physical battle from the first half, with the Congo striker winning a free kick near the corner flag. It's whipped into the middle for Ferebory Dore, but the forward's header is just wide, although there was a man on the post, so had it been on target there's a good chance it would have been blocked.

49 minBifouma appears to be something of a marked man as he's brought down by a late challenge from Kabore in midfield. It allows Dore to get the ball back into the box, but he can't get the shot away.

50 minCHANCE! Ferebory Dore gets the best opportunity of the match so far as Bifouma chips the ball in for his strike partner. The forward has a few moments to line up his shot, but he rushes the finish, allowing Sanou to guide it past the post, and the resulting corner is quickly dealt with.

51 minCHANCE! A mistake by Mafoumbi almost gives Burkina Faso an opening goal down the other end as Sanou launches the ball deep down field. The keeper thinks that the ball is going to go wide, and it only just does.

52 minGOAL! Congo 1-0 Burkina Faso (Thievy Bifouma)

52 minFerebory Dore has been much more involved at the start of the second half and he sets up Thievy Bifouma for the opening goal, crossing it in low for the striker to turn in from close range. However, it looks like Bifouma has been injured after getting sandwiched between Koffi and Sanou, who were both trying to clear the threat.

54 minAfter a couple of moments off the pitch getting checked over by the physio again, Bifouma is back on the pitch, which will be welcome news for Congo. He has been superb again this evening for the Group A leaders.

55 minUPDATE: There's been a goal in the other match too as Equatorial Guinea have just scored from the penalty spot. As things stand, the host nation and Congo will be going through to the quarter-finals.

57 minKoffi and Alain Traore link up down the right flank as they try to create something for Burkina Faso, and they force a corner, but Mafoumbi manages to punch it clear for Congo.

58 minCongo are pushing for a second goal as Moutou curls the ball in towards N'Dinga, but Sanou comes off his line to claim it before the midfielder can get a shot away.

59 minSUBS! Burkina Faso make their first changes, replacing Issa Gouo and Prejuce Nakouma with Bertrand Traore and Aristide Bance.

61 minBance looks to make an immediate impact as Burkina Faso try a long ball forward to the big striker, but he can't get on the other end of the pass quick enough, leaving Mafoumbi to gather it for Congo.

63 minKoffi fires a cross in for Bance, but it's deflected behind for a corner. Pitroipa tries to get it back in for the sub. The introduction of Bance and Bertrand Traore has certainly added something extra to the Burkina Faso attack.

63 minSUB! Congo make their first change, and it's the goalscorer, Thievy Bifouma, who makes way, having been on the wrong end of a few rather heavy challenges this evening. The coach obviously has half an eye on the quarters and wants to rest his talisman. Ladislas Dounima takes his place.

65 minPENALTY APPEAL! Burkina Faso are continuing to press, and the want a penalty as a Pitroipa cross strikes Ndinga, and the 2013 finalists claim that it was a handball, but the replays show that it clearly hit his midriff.

67 minCHANCE! Charles Kabore tries to make the most of a poor corner from Alain Traore, unleashing a low strike from the edge of the box, but his effect is deflected off a teammate behind.

68 minBertrand Traore loses out in midfield, and a long ball forward leaves Ferebory Dore in a strong position. He pulls it back to new strike partner Dounima, but the striker's first touch is sloppy, and Burkina Faso clear.

70 minAlain Traore and Pitroipa are continuing to press for Burkina Faso, but they just can't get enough support up front. Congo know exactly what to expect when the duo are running at the goal, so stopping them has become routine for the side that currently sit at the top of the Group A table.

72 minCHANCE! Congo have a free kick to the left of the penalty area. Ferebory Dore tries a training ground move, pulling it back to the edge of the box for Ndinga, but Sanou spots the low drive and manages to make a diving stop.

74 minSUB! Razack Traore has been anonymous for Burkina Faso, so he makes way for Issiaka Ouedraogo. Burkina Faso now have four strikers on the pitch as they desperately hope for a late comeback to send them through to the last eight.

75 minFerebory Dore is tripped in the box, and the referee blows. However, the striker hasn't won a penalty, he's been flagged for offside, although the replays suggest it was a harsh call by the assistant referee.

76 minSUB! That will be Dore's last involvement as Fabrice N'Guessi is coming on for the final 15 minutes.

77 minCongo have yet another free kick in a promising position, and Dounima gets the ball after Ndinga's set piece is blocked by the wall, but he fires well wide. Congo haven't made the most of some of their chances, but Burkina Faso really haven't punished them for it. They'll need to be more ruthless in the quarter-finals though.

79 minCHANCE! Well that's the closest Burkina Faso have come to a goal! Aristide Bance has a shot blocked, but it drops kindly for Bertrand Traore, who tries to blasts it in low. His finish has plenty of power, but is a fraction wide.

81 minBance is really working hard to try to create something for the 2013 runners-up. He manages to get down the left flank before pulling it back for Djakaridja Kone, and the midfielder gets a free kick just outside the box.

83 minDISALLOWED GOAL! Burkina Faso think they have a lifeline as Christoffer Mafoumbi, who has been shaky all day, drops Alain Traore's curling delivery. Younger brother Bertrand Traore thinks that he's fired in the rebound, but there was on offside as Ouedraogo got a touch to the initial free kick, ruling out the goal. You can see the heartbreak on the Burkina Faso players' faces, it's just not their day!

85 minBance continues to cause problems for the Congo defenders, picking out Alain Traore with a cheeky little backheel, but the striker was offside. That's the eighth offside of the match for Burkina Faso this evening.

85 minLadislas Dounima thinks that he is through for a shot, but Bakary Kone stands up strong at the back to make the clearance.

86 minGOAL! Congo 1-1 Burkina Faso (Aristide Bance)

86 minWell that certainly makes things interesting! Aristide Bance has looked superb since coming off the bench and he's given Burkina Faso some late hope, bursting into the box to latch onto a through ball from Bertrand Traore, getting the better of Mafoumbi with a low drive.

87 minGOAL! Congo 2-1 Burkina Faso (Fabrice N'Guessi)

87 minWell Burkina Faso weren't level for long. Germain Sanou has looked pretty solid between the posts for Burkina Faso, but a high, long ball forward gets the better of him, and a limp punch is straight into the path of Fabrice N'Guessi, who doesn't know a lot about the goal as it goes in off the back of his shoulder. He celebrates it like he meant it though!

89 minSUB! Congo make their final change as they try to see out the final minutes, replacing Francis Litsingi with Cesaire Gandze.

90 minCHANCE! Congo try to put the result beyond any doubt as Oniangue makes a run down the right before pulling it back for Moutou, but the midfielder was just a little to quick with his run into the box, and the ball went behind him. Meanwhile, there are three minutes of injury time to be played.

90+1 minUPDATE: With all the late drama here, I've neglected to tell you that there's been a second goal in the other match. However, there's no late comeback for Gabon as Equatorial Guinea have doubled their lead.

90+2 minOFF THE CROSSBAR! Burkina Faso almost get back level again as Bertrand Traore hits a free kick from 30 yards out, but it's kept out by the bar.

90+3 minCongo have a corner down the other end, put their in no hurry to take it as they just want to run the clock down now. Dounima just holds it next to the flag before he's forced to put it out.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Congo 2-1 Burkina Faso


7.53pmThey had to keep their nerve late on as Aristide Bance's goal made things interesting, but Congo kept their nerve, restoring their lead quickly to make sure of the win, which sends them through to the last eight as group winners.

7.54pmIt's just gone full time in the other Group A match too, and it's good news for the host nation, Equatorial Guinea, as their 2-0 win over Gabon sends them through as runners-up. Both quarter-finalists are something of a surprise, as Burkina Faso and Gabon had been heavily favoured to progress ahead of the tournament.

7.55pmHere's a look at some of the action from the game courtesy of CAF's Twitter account:

7.56pmWell that's all from this match, but join us again tomorrow as Group B comes to a conclusion, and it's still all to play for in that group too. Until then, thanks for joining me this evening, goodbye.

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