World: Africa Cup of Nations
3 - 1
(1 - 1)
Congo DR
C. Mbemba (27), Y. Wissa (65), A. Masuaku (82)
M. Bayo (21)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Silas prevails over Stuttgart teammate Guirassy as DRC eliminate Guinea from AFCON

Bundesliga professionals Serhou Guirassy and Naby Keïta found themselves booted out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations last night after suffering a 1-3 loss against Congo DR in the tournament quarterfinals. 

VfB Stuttgart winger Silas advances along with his Congolese Leopards to the semi-finals. Silas' nation reaches the penultimate stage of the competition for the third time since the dissolution of the former Zaire. 
A massive matchup in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals last night pitted two top-rated Bundesliga professionals against another as the Syli National of Guinea sought to book passage to the tournament semis against the Leopards of Congo DR. Both countries are widely regarded to have strong footballing programs, yet have never captured a continental title.

Guinea have never advanced past the quarterfinals in the 11 competitions for which they've qualified. Congo DR won titles under the mantle of previous political incarnations of "Kinshasa" and "Zaire", yet have not lifted the trophy since the Mobutu Sese Seko's overthrow in 1997. Mobutu's Zaire took the AFCON title in 1974.

After advancing out of their group in third place, Guinea were able to punch through to the quarters with a narrow win over Equatorial Guinea in the Round-of-16. The DRC wrapped up group-stage-play in second place. A wild nine-round PSO win over Egypt in the first knockout round then saw them reach this stage of the competition.

Guinean head-coach Kaba Diawara gave SV Werder Bremen attacking midfielder Naby Keïta (also the national team captain) his first start of the tournament. VfB Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy, who made his tournament debut in the final group-stage fixture, began on the bench for the second consecutive match.

Guirassy's Stuttgart colleague Silas - after a long relief shift and converted penalty in the last game - didn't start for Congo. RB Leipzig loanee Ilaix Moriba again wasn't able to make the match-day squad. The former Spanish youth international initially served as one of Sebastian Desabre's regulars before an injury derailed his tournament.

A lively opening 45 concluded with proceedings tied at 1-1. The Guinean Elephants opened up the scoring from the penalty spot in the 20th with the Congolese Leopards equalizing from open play eight minutes later. Congolese captain Chancel Mbemba conceded the penalty, then redeemed himself by putting away an error from Guinean penalty-taker Mohamed Bayo.

Stuttgart's Silas became the first substitute on either side to be inserted into the match. The VfB professional - linked with a move away from Germany on transfer deadline day - made an immediate impact. Silas drew a penalty shortly after coming on in the 59th. The Leopards went ahead 2-1 from the spot in the 65th. Arthur Masuaka attained the 3-1 with a dazzling free-kick conversion in the 82nd.

Silas' Stuttgart teammate Guirassy came on in the 69th to minimal effect. The Bundesliga scoring sensation recorded one meek effort among his six touches. Keïta racked up over 50 touches in his full 90 minute shift and remained involved in most of the midfield play. The SV summer acquisition recorded one assisted shot. Silas - by virtue of the penalty - added an assist to the goal he scored in round two.

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