Congo missed a chance to go clear at the top of Group E in qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Kenya on Sunday.
An earlier goalless draw between Zambia and Guinea-Bissau had presented both Congo and Kenya with the chance to steal an early march in their bid to reach the tournament in Gabon.
Ranked 76 places higher than their opponents, Congo entered the match as heavy favourites.
However, it was Kenya who took the lead through Paul Were after 12 minutes, before Prince Oniangue levelled from the penalty spot 25 minutes later.
Both sides struggled to find a breakthrough during a scrappy second half, leaving the group all square on one point following the first round of fixtures.
Congo made a bright start and saw Merveil Ndockyt hit the side-netting early on, before Philtzgerald Mbaka nodded over from a free-kick.
Kenya missed a gilt-edged chance soon after but Paul Were made no mistake when he was presented with the chance to drill a left-footed effort across goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi and into the back of the net.
Boniface Oluoch came to Kenya’s rescue when he gathered an effort directed straight at him, but was helpless to stop Oniangue’s well-placed penalty eight minutes from the break following Jackson Lusuli’s handball.
Try as they might, neither side was able to find the winner, but Kenya will certainly have the happier set of supporters following a valuable away point.
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