Africa: Africa Cup of Nations
⚽X C. Bakambu (42), ⚽ Silas (76)
VfB Stuttgart forward Silas has become the first Bundesliga player to score at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Silas’ Congo DR drew Amine Adli and Noussair Mazraoui’s Moroccan “Atlas Lions” 1-1 in their second group stage encounter, placing themselves in excellent position to make the tournament knockouts.
|Congo DR football fans
|MONUSCO Photos CC BY-SA 2.0
The first of German football’s 19 AFCON representatives to net a goal in the 2023 continental championship in Cote d’Ivoire dons the tricot of the Congolese Leopards. VfB Stuttgart forward/winger Silas came off the bench for Sebastien Desabre’s Central Africans to score an equalizer in the nation’s second group stage match against Morocco. Silas countered an opener from former Borussia Dortmund star Achraf Hakimi to ensure the match finished in a 1-1 draw.
The Moroccans got their tournament off to a near perfect start on Wednesday with a rollicking 3-0 victory over the Taifa Stars of Tanzania. Just as was the case in that fixture, Leverkusen attacker Amine Adli began the game on the bench wile FC Bayern München fullback Noussair Mazraoui was not fit enough for the match-day squad. Walid Regragui’s Atlas Lions appeared well on their way to securing another three points after Hakimi opened the scoring in the 9th.
The Congolese failed to convert from the penalty spot near the end of the first half and struggled to create much of note in the second. Silas helped his native land out twelve minutes after being subbed on in the 64th. Some very nice predatory work from colleagues Chancel Mbembe and Meschack Elia supplied Silas with an excellent chance to finish central.
An emphatic first-time finish in the 76th ensured that Silas – who only featured as a time-wasting sub at the death in his country’s 1-1 draw with Zambia in the opening round – would definitely prove a factor this time. Adli – in stark contrast to his opening match – wasn’t much of a factor in his second fixture.
Despite playing roughly (18) the same number of minutes, Adli only got his foot around the ball less than a dozen times. The Werkself professional was also booked for a poor challenge three minutes from time. The youngster was generally weak on ground duels.
Having now accrued two points, the Congolese will fancy their chances of punching through to the knockouts for the fourth consecutive tournament in which they’ve qualified. Congo play Tanzania, who are chaos after firing their coach, in their final group match.