AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Kabananga earns DR Congo opening win over Morocco
Junior Kabananga's 55th-minute goal saw Democratic Republic of Congo, who saw Joyce Lomalisa sent off, upset Morocco in Group C.
Democratic Republic of Congo's Junior Kabananga struck early in the second half to earn a 1-0 win over Morocco in their opening Africa Cup of Nations match on Monday.
Injury-hit Morocco had most of the play and struck the post early on but could not find a way past DR Congo goalkeeper Ley Matampi, even after their opponents had substitute Joyce Lomalisa sent off with nine minutes left.
Lomalisa came on in the 65th minute but was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards in eight minutes, having never previously been booked in 20 appearances for his country.
DR Congo top group after Ivory Coast-Togo stalemate
DR Congo, champions in 1968 and 1974 but no longer considered among the continent's elite teams, went top of Group C after Ivory Coast and Togo earlier drew 0-0 at the same venue.
The only goal in the late game came in the 55th minute after Firmin Mubele's low cross was misjudged by Morocco goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi, who made a poor clearance at the near post and Kazakhstan-based Kabananga skilfully turned the ball in.
Morocco, whose coach Herve Renard has already won the tournament with Zambia and Ivory Coast and was wearing his trademark 'lucky' white shirt, started well and Mbark Boussoufa hit the post in the second minute.
After slacking off before half time, Morocco came back to life in the last half hour and Youssef Ennesyri missed an excellent chance to equalise when he fired wildly over the bar from an unmarked position at the far post.
The twice champions were denied again when Matampi brilliantly blocked Youssef El Arabi's point-blank header in the dying minutes.
Morocco missing several injured players
Morocco's injury list includes midfielders Sofiane Boufal and Younnes Belhanda and wingers Oussame Tannane and Nordin Amrabat, who have all been ruled out of the tournament.
The North Africans were disqualified from the previous tournament in 2015 when they pulled out of hosting the event amid fears over the spread of the Ebola virus.
They had also been banned from this year's tournament and the 2019 edition by the African football confederation before successfully appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.