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DURBAN, South Africa, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo battled to a goalless stalemate in an evenly-fought Group B match on Thursday which did neither team any favours in their quest to reach the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup.
Although Niger secured their first ever point in the finals after losing all three games in 2012 and their opening match here, the result at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium left Ghana top after two matches with four points, followed by Mali (3), DR Congo (2) and Niger (1).
Niger should have taken the lead after four minutes when Modibo Sidibe was put through with only goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba to beat but he missed his chance by firing his angled shot against the base of Kidiaba's far post.
Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly kept his side in the match with two outstanding first half saves, the first after 13 minutes from Dieumerci Mbokani and the second three minutes before the break when he somehow blocked a close-range shot from the centre forward who looked certain to score.
Ghana face Niger in their final group game in Port Elizabeth on Monday while the Congolese face Mali in Durban. Both matches kickoff at 1700GMT (Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Justin Palmer)