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AFCON: Taifa Stars face The Leopards tonight in a group that they are dimmed to be "the whipping boys". Can they defy the odds and mount a victory?
sokapro-AFCON: Taifa Stars face The Leopards tonight in a group that they are dimmed to be

Tanzania faces Congo DR tonight at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, with a place in the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages at stake.

With Group F kick-offs at the same time, Congo, who have two points from their opening two games, are looking for a win to keep their lead, while Tanzania face elimination if they lose. Taifa Stars were dismissed as Group F's whipping boys before the competition, but they have defied expectations and are still in contention for a knockout spot coming into their final group stage match. Though their first game was a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Morocco, a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Zambia kept them within touching distance of the other group contenders. Adel Amrouche's men took an early lead thanks to Simon Msuva's opportunism following a quick turnover. Still, Zambia's Patson Daka's powerful header two minutes later forced Tanzania to settle for a draw. 

Tanzania has yet to win an AFCON match, with six defeats and two stalemates in eight matches across three editions, including the current one; however, a historic win against DR Congo tonight would provide a golden opportunity to break that streak and reach the knockout stage for the first time. Tanzania is not unfamiliar with their opponents, having won twice , drawn, and lost twice of their previous six meetings. The stars may finally align for Tanzania as they seek a spot in the AFCON knockout stages. D.R. Congo entered this game as the second favourite to advance from this group, trailing Morocco, and they would have been disappointed to only take one point from Zambia in their opening encounter. The reverse, however, proved true for the Leopards as they were pleased to hold Morocco to a 1-1 stalemate in their second game of the tournament. Morocco are arguably the favourites to bag the trophy of this AFCON's edition. 

Morocco's Achraf Hakimi opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but Congo DR's Silas Katompa Mvumpa equalised in the 76th minute. Earlier, Cedric Bakambu missed a wonderful opportunity for the Leopards when his first-half penalty hit the woodwork. The drama did not stop on the pitch, as a brawl broke out between players and coaching staff from both teams after the final whistle, allegedly triggered by Morocco coach Walid Regragui's encounter with DR Congo captain Chancel Mbemba. Congo DR's main problem has been poor final-third decision-making, with 35 shots on target in the first two matches that only resulted in two goals. Congo DR is the favourite in this match, and they will be hoping that their team can be clinical enough to clinch a crucial victory over Tanzania tonight. 

(Image: Khel Now)