A perfect start to his African Cup of Nations campaign for Chancel Mbemba on Monday.

The Newcastle United defender and his international teammates kicked off their Group C matches with a 1-0 win over Morocco, the finals being held in Gabon.

Achraf Lazaar missed out on the finals as he struggles to get time on the pitch for Newcastle this season and his countrymen went a goal down when Kabananga scored in the 55th minute.

An 81st minute sending off for Lomalisa Mutambala left DR Congo hanging on but they saw the game out for a valuable three points.

DR Congo line-up v Morocco:

Matampi, Issama Mpeko, Zakuani, Tisserand, N’Sakala (Mutambala 65), Mulumba, Bokadi, Mbemba, Kabananga (Maghomaat 71), Bakambu (Mbokaniat 77), Mubele

An added bonus was that the other match saw group favourites Ivory Coast manage only a goalless draw with rank outsiders Togo.

On Sunday in Group B, Mohamed Diame sat out Senegal’s 2-0 win over Tunisia, although Henri Saivet (currently on loan at St Etienne) came on as a second half sub.

Tuesday sees Christian Atsu in line to join the action with an opening Group D match, Ghana taking on Uganda.