Jeremy Bokila’s 65th minute equaliser for DR Congo against Tunisia, coupled with either side’s inability to score in the other group game meant the two sides involved in the 1-1 draw scraped through to the second round.
Hosts Equatorial Guinea joined Congo to make the quarter finals in the first final round of fixtures, and eager to join them where the four sides in Group B, all of whom had a chance of being one of the two to progress.
Champions in 2012, Zambia had had a particularly poor opening to the tournament, but entered the final group game knowing a victory might probably be enough to send them through.
And the 1-1 draw in the other game meant even a 1-0 would have sufficed, but a dour game saw both sides unable to muster the quality needed to overpower the other.
Zambia had two great chances late on to snatch the unlikely victory, but Kangwa and Mulenga both fluffed their lines, ending the game in a goalless stalemate and eliminating both sides.
Dr Congo qualifies on goals scored over Cape Verde, after three draws in three games for both sides. Congo finished with 2 goals scored, 2 against; Cape Verde with a goal for and against.
Tunisia were the better side for long portions of the game, keeping the ball well whilst DRC tried to defend their tenuous hold on second round place.
Ahmed Akaiachi sent the Carthage Eagle ahead after 31 minutes, brilliantly getting his head to a looping cross to put DR Congo in danger of elimination.
But not to be outdone, Bokila brought his side lever on 66 minutes, expertly trapping a long ball and firing into the bottom left corner of Tunisia’s net.
Having sensed a 1-1 draw would probably see them through, both sides lifted their foot off the pedal, ensuring a dour final twenty minutes that nonetheless sent them both through.
The final standings ensure the completion of some quarter final fixtures; Congo would take on DR Congo, whilst Tunisia would engage the hosts Equatorial Guinea.