The match played by the Nzalang and the Democratic Republic of Congo was the culmination of a spectacular CAN for the national team, which arrived as a guest and has become the great revelation of the tournament. The boys of Esteban Becker fought to the point of exhaustion and finally lost in the penalty shootout. As the Head of State said, they are the new heroes of Equatorial Guinea and what they have done can only be described as a feat.
The Nzalang Nacional started the game with a lineup formed by Ovono in the goal; Randy, Evuy, Rui and Sipoto in defense; Kike Boula, Zarandona, Juvenal and Belima in midfield, and Balboa and Nsue in the offense. A clear 4-4-2 was intended to dominate the midfield and playing by touch, as the coaches of our team like to do.
The first moments were clearly dominated by the Nzalang, which after ten minutes had had two good opportunities generated by Balboa and Nsue. The national team of Congo began to stretch and created some opportunities. The most dangerous one was a breakaway of Bolasie who, alone before Ovono, shot the ball out of bounds. With a goalless tie, the first half ended.
The second half began with two changes in the national team: Miguel Malle and Doualla substituted Kike Boula and Zarandona. The team took a few minutes to engage and Ovono had to save a header from one of the Congolese attackers. Moments later, Kage sprinted and got rid of three players of the Nzalang, and when he was alone before Ovono, passed to Mbokani, who was unable to finish it off accurately.
The Nzalang Nacional with the new additions began to dominate the game and a great pass from Juvenal was received by Nsue, who made it possible for Malle to finish it off; however, the latter shot it just over the crossbar. Then it was Juvenal who made a great shot. The best chance for Equatorial Guinea came, however, from the feet of Nsue, who made a great play: his shot was cleared by Kidiaba at the last moment.
From that moment on, either team could have scored; first the Democratic Republic of Congo, with shots by Bolasie that were stopped by Ovono; and then the Nzalang, with chances created by Nsue, Belima, Bosio, Doualla and Balboa. Unfortunately, Kidiaba (voted player of the match), avoided the deserved goal of Equatorial Guinea and they reached the end of the match with the initial tie at zero.
The lottery of penalties did not favor the national team and finally Congo won 4-2. A worthy third place, as it could have been for the Nzalang Nacional. But this time, luck was not on their side.
The match also had an emotional note. The great captain Juvenal Edjogo played his last game with the Nzalang Nacional. He reported it to his teammates and the coaching staff in the tactical talk that took place before the game. After twelve years defending the colors of the national team, inside and outside the field, always sticking up for his teammates, and for Equatorial Guinea, Juvenal certainly deserves the greatest of congratulations.
The Equatorial Guinean Football Federation (FEGUIFUT) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports should have special appreciation for a player who has been banner of Equatorial Guinean football and who has not hesitated to defend Equatorial Guinea worldwide, regardless of the problems that it could bring him. Congratulations Juve, and good luck in the future.
Text: Javier Hernandez
Photos: Mansueto Loeri Bomohagasi (D. G. Base Internet)
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office