The Democratic Republic of Congo came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Ghana at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu scored the first goal of the tournament from a well-worked move before Kwadwo Asamoah gave Ghana a two-goal lead, but goals from Tresor Mputu and Dieumerci Mbokani earned DR Congo a point at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The first real chance fell to Udinese’s Agyemang-Badu, who was narrowly prevented from firing clear shot at goal from a well-placed cut-back.
Congo replied with a chance of their own as some good work down the right flank set up Lualua, whose effort was parried onto the bar by Fatau Dauda in the Ghana goal.
A similar move saw Mbokani set up Mputu, whose effort flew high as DRC looked to exploit the weakness of Asamoah playing at a largely unfamiliar left-back role. The Ghanaians settled back into the game and both sides continued to have a go at each other.
No clear-cut chances were created till Asamoah Gyan was played through on goal with pin-point accuracy by Derek Boateng, but the Al-Ain forward dallied too much and sliced the ball wide.
Congo responded with a sustained period of pressure but the Leopards were stung in the 40th minute as Agyemang-Badu scored after an amazing bit of play from Asamoah, who exchanged a quick one-two with Gyan before setting up Agyemang-Badu for the tap-in. DR Congo went back on the attack but were almost caught out again as goalkeeper Mutebe Kidiaba had to react quickly on the stroke of half-time to prevent a fierce in-swinging cross from getting to its target.
Ghana came out strongly in the second half, carving out another good opening.
Kidiaba did well to save at his near post but Asamoah was on hand to head in from the resulting corner taken by Mubarak Wakaso to give the Ghanaians a two-goal cushion four minutes into the second half.
Congo responded by mounting another assault on the Ghana goal and this time they did break through, Mputu pulling one back with a smooth finish after a great through-ball put him in a position to slot past the keeper.
Underdogs Congo were level in the 67th minute after a smooth finish from the spot by Dieumerci Mbokani, who won the spot kick when he was fouled by Jeremiah Akaminko.
Gyan then stung Kidiaba’s palms with a fierce shot a couple of minutes later before heading wide from a good cross in the 73rd minute as Ghana looked to get back in front.
Kidiaba then had to make a great save from a tricky Wakaso free-kick barely a minute later.
The Leopards, however, also caused some problems of their own, with Dauda having to produce a world-class save to prevent his side from going behind.
Both sides tried to find the winner but neither managed it, with Congo having a scare late into injury time as Kidiaba almost carried a save from Gyan’s header into his own net.
Next up for Ghana is a match against Mali on Thursday, with Congo meeting Niger on the same day.