KIGALI — Democratic Republic of Congo became the first team to win two African Nations Championship titles after crushing Mali 3-0 in the 2016 final at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali yesterday evening.
The Leopards — who claimed their first title in the inaugural CHAN tournament in the Ivory Coast in 2009 — secured the emphatic win thanks to a brace from the brilliant Elia Meschak and a fine strike by Jonathan Bolingi.
The first clear chance of the game went the way of DRC after just five minutes, with Zacharie Mombo providing a fine cross from the left flank to pick out Elia Meschak, but the forward put his header just over the crossbar.
Mali then had a couple of chances for Mamdou Coulibaly, the second of which saw him run onto a clever lob over the defence before steering a chip just off target as DRC goalkeeper Ley Matampi sprinted off his line to put the forward under pressure.
On 29 minutes the Leopards broke the deadlock with one of the best goals of the tournament.
Elia Meschak sprinted onto a long ball down the left flank, cut inside one defender and sent an unstoppable right-footed shot beyond Djigui Diarra from a tight angle.
Mali missed out on a good chance to equalise on 35 minutes, with Matampi saving from a long-range effort but only succeeding in allowing the ball to bounce freely in the danger area, yet Abdoulaye Diarra’s follow-up was straight at the Leopards ‘keeper.
DRC doubled their advantage just after the hour mark and it was Elia who again found the back of the net, running onto a great through ball from midfield before rounding the goalkeeper and coolly finishing to make it 2-0.
On 73 minutes the Leopards killed off the match as a contest, with Jonathan Bolingi firing home a low shot from the edge of the box to make it 3-0 and wrap up the scoring in what was very much a one-sided final.
Earlier in the day, Ivory Coast secured bronze with a 2-1 victory over Guinea, first half goals by Koffi Boua and Gbagnon Badie securing the Elephants third place in the tournament. — mtnfootball.com