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South Africa won bronze medal at the expense of DR Congo after intense penalty shootout
South Africa won bronze medal at the expense of DR Congo after intense penalty shootout

AFCON 2023: South Africa beat DR Congo on penalties to secure third place

South Africa took the third position at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after beating DR Congo 6-5 on penalties to secure their best finish at a Nations Cup since 2000.

Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Ronwen Williams proved the hero again as his side defeated DR Congo in the penalty shootout after the game ended 0-0 in regulation time.

South Africa midfielder Teboho Mokoena hit the outside of the post with the first kick after which the next eight efforts were all successful, leaving DR Congo captain Chancel Mbemba needing to score to win the contest.

Although Mbemba had the chance to win it for DR Congo, Williams blocked his effort, before Meshack Elia's penalty was also saved to win the tie.

In the quarter-final win against Cape Verde, Williams saved four penalties in the shootout.

In Abidjan's Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, ,no extra time was played in the bronze medal match, which the Congolese dominated despite proving poor in front of goal.

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Silas Katompa had two glaring chances to put them ahead, first in the eighth minute when free on the left with just Williams to beat, but his hesitation allowed the keeper to grab the ball at his feet.

When Williams dropped a high ball in his box midway through the second half, without any pressure on him, Katompa had an even easier chance but shot into the side netting.

Fifteen minutes from the end, DR Congo striker Simon Banza also had clear sight on goal but botched his effort from point blank range.

Read also: Haller gives Ivory Coast victory in Afcon final

Hero: Williams saved two penalties in the shootout

Substitute Fiston Mayele did well to bring a long ball down on his chest and get goalside of his marker but he, too, missed as his effort in the 89th minute went across the face of goal.

South Africa, who lost on penalties after extra time in Wednesday's semi-final to Nigeria, looked tired as they made only three changes to their line-up, while DR Congo gave an opportunity to all their reserves with nine changes from their midweek loss to Ivory Coast.

South Africa's Belgian coach Hugo Broos was given the bumps after adding a third-place finish to his 2017 triumph with Cameroon.

Bafana Bafana last ended up on the podium in 2000, after beating Tunisia on penalties, while DR Congo were looking for their best tournament since 1998.

On Sunday, February 11, hosts Ivory Coast take on Nigeria in Abidjan to decide the ultimate winner of the continental title.

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