Saturday 06 Jul
Updated Saturday 06 Jul 15:00
First Team

West Ham star Arthur Masuaku set for AFCON knockout stages

Arthur Masuaku

 

Arthur Masuaku and DR Congo are favourites to continue their Africa Cup of Nations resurgence when they face Madagascar in the round of 16 on Sunday.

After losing their opening two matches at the tournament, the Congolese needed a 4-0 win over Zimbabwe in their final group-stage fixture to sneak through to the knockout stages as one of the best third-place teams.

There, they face the Cup of Nations’ surprise package Madagascar, who came through the first round unbeaten, defeating Nigeria and Burundi on their way to topping Group B.

Despite their strong start, the debutants are considered outsiders against a DR Congo squad that features West Ham United star Masuaku, Middlesbrough striker Britt Assombalonga and Beijing Guoan forward Cedric Bakambu, who shared three goals against Zimbabwe.

Masuaku, who scored his first international goal in a warm-up fixture with Kenya and started the opening 2-0 group-stage defeat by Uganda, has been left out of the starting XI for DR Congo’s last two matches.

He will hope to each a recall from manager Florent Ibenge, who preferred home-based Ngonda Muzinga at left-back in the win over Zimbabwe and preceding 2-0 defeat by host nation Egypt.

Sunday’s round of 16 fixture will be broadcast live in the UK by Eurosport 2 from 5pm.

DR Congo are seeking a third AFCON crown, having previously won the title in 1968 and 1974.