The 26-year-old defensive midfielder of French club Reims told African Sports TV what the victory over the Panthers means to the Red Devils and how it would likely affect their progress in the tournament.
“Gabon were heavily viewed as favourites over Congo. They are a more exposed team and have more top players than ours. But our coach Claude Le Roy has built our confidence enough to face any team in the world. And when we started against Gabon we played without pressure,” Oniangue said.
Gabon pressed their central African neighbours at the blast of the whistle in a bid to settle their play but the Red Devils stood their ground and gradually sucked the pressure to balance the exchange, which Oniangue believes helped his team to avoid early troubles.
“Gradually, we seized the game and began playing to our slow rhythm which frustrated them to a great deal. We were both managing stamina and tactics while they were all out in search of a goal. They wanted to open the scoring at all cost,” Oniangue said.
However, it was Oniangue himself who broke the deadlock for Congo moments after their return from a goalless first half. It was as though The Panthers were stabbed at the back after the 48th minute goal conceded.
“It took them some good minutes to get over that shock and we strengthened our midfield and back half the more while maintaining the same pattern of play. We knew they would react. We wanted them to so we could perhaps exploit the potholes behind them.”
Gabon would toil in vain until the final whistle for an equaliser, leaving the fray defeated and disgusted as jubilant Congo players lifted shoulder high Oniangue, the hero of the night, who was also named match of the match by Caf committee.
“Winning the man of the match prize will motivate me and my teammates to work harder. We will aim at building on the victory against Gabon and claim qualification to the knockout stage,” he said.