ZAMBIAN inflicted the first defeat to the co-hosts Equatorial Guinea 1-0 to win Group A and book a place in the quarter final of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations .Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea lost for the first time in the competition but the Malabo result ensures that both sides qualify for the quarter finals from this group which also saw Libya finish third after beating disappointing Senegal 2-1 leaving the Teranga Lions in fourth place in the group.
The match in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea got off to a cagey start as both sides sizing up the other up with the co-hosts looked slightly more adventurous but without really threatening Kennedy Mweene ‘s goal. Chipolopolo of Zambia looked contend to let their opponents dominate the early possession while they counter attacked. Zambia looked dangerous though whenever they ventured into the Equatorial Guinea box and Emmanuel Mayuka’s header sailed just over the bar after a lovely cross from Rainford Kalaba. The best chance for the co-hosts in the first half fell to Ivan Bolado when a through pass from Juvenal Edjogo saw him onto the goal but Mweene charged off his goal line to block the shot.
Mweene was called upon to deal with a shot from Equatorial Guinea captain Edjogo and the South African based goalkeeper showed his usual agility catching comfortably the effort from long range.
Zambia upped the tempo upon resumption and Mayuka and Katongo were soon keeping the home side defence busy as the play opened up. Zambia impressively maintained their pattern and shape and started dominating the midfield exchanges with player maker Kalaba pulling the strings.
In the 67th minute Zambian pressure paid off when captain Chris Katongo picked up a throw in and went on a diagonal run beating two defenders before firing into the bottom right hand corner past a diving Danilo for the opening goal. Equatorial Guinea found themselves behind for the first time in the competition and the response to going down did not seem to threaten Zambia who looked in control still. Both coaches made changes but there were few clear cut changes. Ben Konate, who has been very impressive in this tournament so far was replaced by Rolan de la Cruz for Equatorial Guinea while Mayuka made way for James Chamanga who was once doubtful for these finals through injury. Zambia played out the remaining time and their keeper Mweene and his defence comfortably dealt with Equatorial Guinea’s last ditch efforts-Cafonline.com