25 Jan 2013

Redemption for Niger keeper

5:51 pm on 25 January 2013

The Niger national football team's goalkeeper earned redemption for himself and a first-ever point for his country with two vital saves to force a goalless draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Nations Cup.

Daouda Kassaly twice denied Congo striker Dieumerci Mbokani to make up for an error-strewn performance in his country's 1-0 defeat by Mali in their opening Group C match on Monday.

He dropped a cross that allowed Mali a late winner but on Thursday at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium did not put a foot wrong as Niger broke new ground.

Although the arid west African country, relative rookies at the finals, secured their first point in the finals after losing all three games in 2012 and their opening match here, the result still leaves them bottom of the standings.

A draw was more damaging to Congo's hopes of progressing, representing a missed chance and means they must now beat Mali in their last group game in Durban on Tuesday.

Ghana took a significant step towards the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Mali at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.