DR Congo came from a goal behind on Sunday to snatch 1-1 draw with Zambia in the two sides opening Group B match at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Ebebiyin, Equitorial Guinea.
The Leopards were the better side throughout despite Zambia taking the early lead through Given Singuluma before Yannick Bolasie equalised after the break.
Singuluma put Zambia ahead in the second minute to give Honour Janza’s side a 1-0 lead going into the break.
The TP Mazembe striker whipped in a rebound after his club-mate Robert Kidiaba parried Rainford Kalaba’s shot that fell at Singuluma’s feet and he made no mistake with a shot from outside the box.
Singuluma’s goal was his first at the Africa Cup of Nations and strangely he was playing in his first tournament match after he was an unused substitute at the 2010 edition in Angola.
Zambia were lucky not to hand DR Congo the equaliser in the eighth minute after goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene spilt the ball to Dieumerci Mbokani’s feet, but the Dynamo Kiev forward skied his effort.
DR Congo continued to pile on the pressure and a minute later Herve Kage’s shot was saved by Mweene.
Zambia’s only other chance in the first half came in the 17th minute when Kalaba’s free-kick was parried by Kidiaba.
It was all DR Congo after the half hour mark with Youssouf Mulumbu and Mbokani testing Mweene in the 31st and 36th minutes respectively.
Bolasie too was unfortunate to see his free kick go wide in the 41st minute after the ball was deflected off Nathan Sinkala for a corner.
Congo then made a couple of changes after the hour mark with the telling one coming in the 63rd minute when Cedric Mabwati replaced Firmin Mubele after Zambia had made a flying start to the second half.
The change paid dividends three minutes later when Mabwati’s cross was met by Bolasie who blasted in an unstoppable shot to equalise and deflate Zambia’s early second half dominance.