DR Congo 1-1 Morocco: Missed penalty and red card in dramatic World Cup qualifier
Tarik Tissoudali of Morocco
The Leopards took a first half lead but the Atlas Lions restored parity in the second half

The Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco played to a 1-1 draw in the World Cup qualifying playoff held at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa on Friday.

After going ahead early in the first half through Yoane Wissa's goal, the hosts conceded in the second half when Tarik Tissoudali scored for Morocco.

In the opening moments, Morocco attacked more, but Ngonda Muzinga, Dieumerci Amale, and Cedric Bakambu saved the hosts from going down as they cleared dangerous shots launched by the North Africans.

Article continues below

The Atlas Lions were made to regret their lost chances when they went down in the 12th minute. Wissa manoeuvred his way from the left wing, and as he approached the edge of the box, he launched a ferocious long-range strike that Yassine Bounou had little chance of stopping.

After going down, Morocco pushed more men upfront but the Central Africans were able to protect their penalty area from constant attacks as they formed a high and solid defensive line.

There was confusion in the Morocco penalty area when Adam Masina and Nayef Aguerd were undecided on who was to clear a dangerous ball, giving Bakambu a good chance to double their lead, but goalkeeper Bounou - who was partly blocked by his own defenders - reacted to push the ball back into play in the 33rd minute.

Despite a good build-up from the midfield in the 40th minute involving Sofyan Amrabat and Selim Amallah, Morocco could not find a way into their opponent's penalty area as Christian Luyindama meticulously read the move and blocked the duo from causing danger.

The Leopards won a free-kick on the right-wing when Masina brought down Chadrac Akolo as he attempted to stop him from delivering a cross in the 44th minute. The visitors were able to clear the free-kick and headed to the break trailing.

Morocco could not get the equaliser in the 55th minute when Ryan Mmaee sent his spot-kick over the bar. The 24-year-old tried to trick Joel Kiassumbua in Congo's goal before taking the penalty, but he ended up sending the ball into the crowd as Kiassumbua celebrated widely.

Achraf Hakimi came close to restoring parity in the 63rd minute, but his header went out slightly. The fullback connected to a delivery from the right-wing in between two Congo defenders but was unfortunate as he could not find the back of the net in the end.

Tarik Tissoudali who had replaced Youssef En-Nesyri in the 70th minute took just six minutes on the pitch to score the equaliser with an assist from Ayoub El Kaabi. The change that the visitors made also saw El Kaabi replace Mmaee and gave them renewed impetus going forward.

Bounou saved Morocco from going down again when he superbly stopped Bakambu's powerful header in the 79th minute. The Marseille forward - in a congested area - was able to meet a cross delivered from the right wing but the Sevilla goalkeeper - who was a doubt for this qualifier - dived to his right-hand side to block the goal-bound shot.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Muzinga received a second yellow card and was subsequently sent off. He had been booked in the 30th minute before he received another card in the 85th minute.

The nations ended up drawing and will meet in Casablanca on March 29 in the second-leg.