Congo survived a late scare to beat debutants South Sudan 2-1 in TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Suez Canal Stadium of Ismailia.
Goals on either side of half-time gave the Red Devils a 2-0 lead before South Sudan pulled a goal back in the closing stages of the match.
The South Sudanese played with a lot of heart on their big day as they appeared at the tournament for the first time but were forced to make and early substitution following injury to defender Sarfino Lado.
The Bright Stars forward Felix Abishai was presented with the first real opportunity of the match under the floodlights at the Suez Canal Stadium.
The lanky striker forced a save from Christophe Wamba with the near post low effort.
The Red Devils grew into the match and enjoyed possession in large parts of the first half but they lacked the cutting edge to trouble Simon Yogusuk in the South Sudan goal.
Bassinga put Congo ahead with a close range finish against the run of play on the stroke of half time. The Man of the Match slotted home past Yogusuk with a poacher’s finish.
Sousssou Ilendo doubled Congo’s advantage from the penalty spot after captain Ngongara was brought down in the area.
South Sudan pulled one back courtesy of Paul Mara seven minutes from time.
The tricky winger cut inside the Congolese box before firing across Wamba’s near post to give South Sudan their first ever goal at the tournament.
The debutants came close to sharing the spoils late on through Atiki Abiaza ferocious low drive which hit the side netting of the Red Devils goal.
Marie Joseph Madienguela’s side held on to secure the points and join Uganda at the summit of Group B.