DR Congo are 2016 AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP [CHAN] Champions
DR Congo lifted their second African Nations Championship (CHAN) after an emphatic 3-0 win over Mali on Sunday evening at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
Meshack Elia scored a brace before Jonathan Bolingi added a third to seal victory for the Leopards who had been handed the ‘favourites’ tag at the beginning of the biennial tournament.
Elia opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a sublime curler from the left flank after beating Abdul Karim Dante to cut in on the inside before finding the back of the net past a hapless Djigui Diarra.
Five minutes later, Mali could have equalized but Abdoulaye Diarra failed to score within inches of goal after he picked up a Moussa Sissoko rebound.
DR Congo continued to build up play through the flanks with Elia causing continuous trouble and when they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box, Elia’s attempt was blocked by the Malian defense.
In the second half, Elia started off from where he had left off, picking up a through pass from Yannick Bangala before dribbling past the Malian defense and going past goalkeeper Diarra to slot home into an open net in the 61st minute.
Ten minutes later, Mali could have pulled one back but for Lassana Samake to miss a great chance. It was Jonathan Bolingi’s third finish from an Elia assist that sealed victory for the Leopards.
Mali did not give up as they continued creating chances in front of goal but the central defensive duo of Congolese captain Joel Kimwaki and Merveille Bope was solid enough to fend off any late challenge.
DR Congo wrote history to become the first team to win the Chan title since its inaugural edition in 2009 in Ivory Coast when they defeated Ghana 2-0 in the final.