MX23RW : Friday, February 22 17:40:55

Live Commentary: Zambia 1-1 Democratic Republic of Congo - as it happened

Relive with Sports Mole all the action from the Africa Cup of Nations clash between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo faced off in their first match of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament at the Estadio de Ebebiyin.

Both teams were looking to get off to the perfect start in the tournament in the opening match of Group B, and Honour Janza's side did just that when they went ahead in the second minute through Given Singuluma.

However, Congo DR rallied in the second half and equalised as Yannick Bolasie found the net to earn his team a point to get off the mark in the competition.

Read how all the action unfolded in our commentary below.

3.30pmGood afternoon and welcome to the live commentary of the Africa Cup of Nations clash between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

3.31pmBoth teams will be looking to start the tournament in a positive fashion in Group B to put themselves in a strong position for the rest of the group stage. Zambia manager Honour Janza and Congo DR boss Florent Ibenge will be hopeful that their teams are in rhythm from the off for a good start to the competition.

3.35pmThe teams have been announced and we'll start with Zambia.

3.40pmZAMBIA STARTING XI: Mweene, Sunzu, Mbola, Nkausu, Kalaba, Mtonga, Sinkala, Mayuka, Singuluma, Lungu, Kampamba
Subs: Munyua, Munthali, Kabwe, Sautu, Musakanya, Mulenga Musonda, Kangwa, Mwanza, Titima, Ngoma

3.41pmOne recognisable name for fans of the Premier League will be Emmanuel Mayuka from Southampton. The striker leads the line for Janza's men this afternoon. Other European based players include Grasshopper's Nathan Sinkala, while Hapoel Ra'anana have two players in the squad in the form of Emmanuel Mbola and Evans Kangwa.

3.47pmCONGO DR STARTING XI: Muteba, Kasusula, Mongongu, Issama Mpeko, Kimwaki, Mbemba Mangulu, Mulumbu, Mubele, Kage, Bolasie, Mbokani Bezua
Subs: Oualembo, Munganga, Makiadi, Kebano, Mabele, Kabananga, Zakuani, Kudimbana, Cedrick, Bokila, Mabidi, Mandanda

3.50pmCongo DR are captained by West Bromwich Albion's Youssouf Mulumbu as the midfielder will start in the centre of the park. Another notable name is that of Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie. Both players have undoubted quality and will be looking to fire their team to success this afternoon.

3.51pmZambia captain Rainford Kalaba believes that this match is the crucial game in the group stage for their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the competition, he told reporters: "DR Congo will be difficult because there are players that we know but they also know how difficult it is to beat Zambia.

"Winning this game is very important because it will take us to the quarter-finals."

3.53pmDR Congo coach Florent Ibenge is taking the approach of one game at a time in the tournament, he told reporters: "We are approaching the Afcon with a single objective: To focus on our match against Zambia.

"We will focus on our next match against Cape Verde thereafter."

3.57pmThe players are out on the pitch and we're ready to go in the Estadio de Ebebiyin.

1minWe're underway in this Group B match.

2 minGOAL! Zambia 1-0 Congo DR (Singuluma)

2 minThe perfect start to the game for Zambia Singuluma fires his team into the lead with a strike from outside the box into the bottom corner. Kidiaba came for the ball from a cross and his punch was unconvincing as it fell to the midfielder on the edge, and he made no mistake finding the back of the net. A great strike.

3 minCongo DR look to hit back straightaway as Bolasie raids down the left and he hits a low cross into the box. There is a slight scramble, but Mbokani can't sort his feet out in time to get a shot away and Zambia manage to clear the danger.

5 minDecent response from Ibenge's side as they win a free kick, which is well cleared by the Zambia defence but only for a corner. Kage hits another dangerous cross into the box, and after brief scramble Zambia just clear their lines with a hoof upfield.

8 minCHANCE! Mbokani misses an absolute sitter for Congo DR as he volleys the ball over the bar from six yards out. The opportunity came as Mpeko had hit a cross into the box, which was fumbled to the feet of Mbokani by Mweene, but the striker couldn't hold his composure and he fired over. An incredible miss.

10 minBolasie is having a lot of success for Congo DR down the left and he once again beats Nkausu down the flank. His cross is right into the danger zone in front of the keeper, but there is no player in white around to turn the ball towards goal, allowing Mweene to gather with ease.

13 minBolasie causes problems again as he collects a cross from the right and beats his man before firing an effort towards goal. Mulumbu gets in the way of his teammate's shot and tries to force a strike at Mweene, but he is pressured by Mbola, who forces the ball behind for a corner.

15 minZambia have the lead in this game, but they've been on the back foot for the majority of the match. Congo DR have dominated possession, but are yet to threaten Mweene, which will frustrate Ibenge on the sidelines.

17 minSAVE! Zambia win a free kick 30 yards from goal and Kalaba strikes at goal with venom. Kidiaba is not too concerned by the effort as he takes a step to his left and punches the ball away nonchalantly. He looks an interesting character the Congo DR keeper.

18 minSinguluma is given the opportunity to turn and shoot inside the box by Mongongu, but his strike goes just past the post. Every time the ball gets into the box there are a lot of nerves from the Congo DR defence.

21 minAnother chance for Bolasie to cause problems as he is fouled down the left and wins a free kick. He has been his side's best player in the opening 20 minutes of this match, and probably the best player on the pitch.

22 minCHANCE! The set piece from the Palace winger is dangerous, and Mangulu gets his head to the ball, but he can't direct his effort on target as the ball sails harmlessly over the bar.

25 minZambia are sitting back at the moment and seem quite content to soak up the pressure from Congo DR and hit them on the counter down the flanks, and also with Mayuka's pace over the top.

29 minKalaba does extremely well for Zambia down the left as he twists and turns his man inside and out before raiding to the byline. His cross is a good one towards the penalty spot, but Mbemba is on hand for Congo DR to clear the danger with an excellent header, allowing Kidiaba to claim the ball.

32 minSAVE! Mweene makes an excellent save to keep his side ahead as for once the Zambian defence don't deal with a low cross into the box and the ball lands to feet of Bolaie. The winger cuts inside on his left foot and drills a low shot at goal, but the keeper makes the stop with his feet.

35 minMbola defends well for Congo DR as he manages to hold off the pace of Kampamba to allow the ball to travel back to Kidiaba, who clears the ball downfield. The defender's heart would have been racing there.

37 minCHANCE! Mbokani latches onto a cross from the right and heads an effort towards the top corner, but Mweene is alert to the danger and is able to make a comfortable save, with an added dive for dramatic effect.

41 minA chance for Congo DR to threaten as Bolasie is felled right on the edge of the box as he attempted to weave his way into the penalty area. The Palace man will take the free kick as well it seems.

43 minCLOSE! Bolasie's effort deflects off the wall and wrong foots Mweene, and the ball goes inches past the post and out for a corner. That was so close to an equaliser for Ibenge's men.

44 minZambia clear the corner with ease and look to be heading into the break with a one-goal lead.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time.

45 + 1 minHALF-TIME: Zambia 1-0 Congo DR

4.50pmZambia take a 1-0 lead into the break as Given Singuluma fired them ahead in the second minute of the game. Congo DR had their chances to find an equaliser and no-one came closer than Mbokani as he somehow put his strike over the bar from six yards with the goal gaping. However, Ibenge's side did show a lot more going forward in the final 10 minutes of the half to give themselves hope of finding a positive result from this match.

4.55pmPalace winger Yannick Bolasie has been the best player on the pitch in the first half and as he has shown a great deal of pace and skill operating down the left flank. He has had two good opportunities, the closest coming just before the break when his free kick went inches past the post. Look for him to be crucial in getting Congo DR back into the game.

5pmThe players are back out on the pitch and we should be back underway shortly.

46 minWe're back underway in this Group B encounter.

47 minCHANCE! Mbokani should fire his team level but he fails to make good enough contact with the ball to divert it past Mweene from Mubele's cross from the right. Mubele did extremely to break clear down the flank and to lift a pinpoint ball for the striker, but he failed to meet the ball with full conviction.

50 minCongo DR have started the second half well and into a good rhythm in their passing game. They have to use their momentum to get back on level terms as they can't afford to allow Zambia to stifle the match.

53 minA chance to threaten for Congo DR as Bolaise wins a free kick for the umpteenth time this afternoon as Nkausu brings him down with a clumsy challenge.

54 minBolasie decides to go for goal from 30 yards and a difficult angle, but still manages to get his strike on target. Unfortunately for the winger his shot has nowhere near enough power to beat Mweene, who holds the ball with ease under his crossbar.

58 minZambia have been very underwhelming going forward as their tactics seem to be solely based around looking for the ball over the top of the defence to find Mayuka. Their midfield can't seem to control possession long enough to mount anything substantial in terms of a balanced move, and that will concern Janza if Congo DR up the ante.

62 minSUBSTITUTIONS: Mubele and Kage make way for Congo DR and they are replaced by Kabananga and Mabwati. While Mbola comes off for Zambia for Mwanza.

66 minGOAL! Zambia 1-1 Congo DR (Bolasie)

66 minBolasie brings Congo DR level with a fine strike into the top corner from the edge of the area. The substitute Mabwati made the goal as he raided down the right and beat his man, before cutting the ball back to the winger, who beat Mweene with an excellent finish. No more than Congo DR deserve for their performance in the second half.

70 minCongo DR are really pressing forward now and taking the game to Zambia as Bolasie tees up Kabananga on the edge of the box, but his effort is well saved by Mweene.

72 minA long ball over the top has Kabananga through on goal once more and he breaks into the box before deciding to launch a half volley at goal, but his strike is all wrong and goes well past the post. The striker had men in support, which will infuriate his manager.

74 minSUBSTITUTION: Mulenga replaces Kampamba after the striker was stretchered off the pitch, with what could be a serious injury.

77 minZambia have found some life in their attacking play since the equaliser from Congo DR. They are spreading the ball well in midfield and are also getting their wide men involved, and it will be interesting to see if they can push late on for a winner.

81 minCHANCE! Mbokani tries an ambitious overhead from a tight angle as the ball bounces awkwardly in the box, but Mweene is able to make the reaction stop. The Zambian defence then scramble quickly to clear the ball before anyone in a white shirt can pounce on the rebound. Nearly a huge moment in the game.

84 minSinkala goes down inside his own box and appears to be in a lot of pain as he helped off the pitch. A lot of injuries in this game, which will not please either manager in the first match of the tournament.

86 minSUBSTITUTION: Munthali replaces the injured Sinkala for Zambia.

88 minThe injuries in the last few minutes have taken all the pace out of the game and has also knocked both teams right out of rhythm. The match looks to be heading towards a draw unless someone can produce a moment of magic.

89 minThe moment of magic is not going to come from Mabwati as he raids down the right and lifts a cross into area, but his ball sails over the head of everyone in the box and out for a corner. Not the best delivery.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time.

90 + 1 minCongo DR win a free kick down the left and Bolasie delivers the ball into a really dangerous area between the keeper and the throng of players attacking the ball. Mweene gets to the ball, but gets hammered by the player attacking it from Congo DR and goes down in a heap. The ball goes behind for a goal kick, but there is concern for Mweene as he is treated on the ground.

90 + 2 minMweene is up and back on his feet and looks ok to continue the closing minutes of this game.

90 + 3 minFULL-TIME: Zambia 1-1 Congo DR

5.52pmThe game ends in a draw, which will disappoint both sides, but truth be told it was far from a classic at the Estadio de Ebebiyin. Zambia took the lead in the second minute when Given Singuluma found the net following a mistake from keeper Muteba Kidiaba, but struggled for attacking momentum from that point as Congo DR took control of the game. Florent Ibenge's side had several excellent chances before they finally levelled through Yannick Bolasie, but they couldn't push on for a winner as both teams settled for a point.

5.55pmThanks for joining our commentary this afternoon. Be sure to stick with Sports Mole for our continued coverage of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament throughout the month. But from me, it's goodbye.

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