FROM NDINAWE SIMPELWE In Marrakech -
Ivory Coast 0 Zambia 2
MIDFIELDER Augustine Mulenga scored a brace as Zambia eased passed Ivory Coast to secure a quarterfinal place thanks to a dominant display that put the Chipolopolo among the favourites to lift the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament here in Morocco.
Mulenga, who has already attracted interest from Moroccan side Raja Casablanca, said he was happy to have done his part but most importantly that the players followed the coach instructions and won the match.
“I am happy for today’s (yesterday) game because we followed coach instructions. It wasn’t easy but I am happy we achieved what we wanted and we shall continue taking each game as it comes because we want to top the group,” Mulenga said.
With hosts Morocco leading Group A and having qualified along with Sudan, Mulenga must be wary of playing the host nation early in the competition and would want to see Zambia top Group B and play Sudan.
Mulenga gave Zambia the lead in the eighth minute when he calmly slotted in a Lazarous Kambole clever pass to mess up the Ivory Coast game plan of scoring early as they desperately needed a win to remain relevant in the competition.
Having suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Namibia, the Ivorians needed a win to remain in the competition but the two goals from Mulenga saw them eliminated early from the competition as they are on zero point.
Mulenga got his brace after he dribbled past three Ivorian defenders before he smacked past keeper in the 74th minute to double Zambia’s advantage.
Meanwhile, Nyirenda named a starting 11 comprising players that would be representing Zambia in the CAF 2018 Champions League and Confederation Cup.
The match started on a fast note with Ivory Coast threatening first in the second minute through Mel William who got to the end of a low cross but he was forced to shoot wide by Toaster’s challenge.
Zambia then survived a penalty scare when Kouame Yao went down from Fackson Kapumbu challenge in the fourth minute but referee Hamada El Moussa Madagascar waved play on.
The Chipolopolo then settled with Friday Samu shooting over the bar from Ernest Mbewe cross before Mulenga put Zambia ahead from a good move finishing off a Kambole pass.
Kambole managed to beat an offside trap and got to a clever split pass from Friday Samu but his chip went off target while in the 30th minute, Simon Silwimba header bounced off the cross bar from Mulenga.
Mbewe’s shot from inside the box is cleared off the line in the 68th minute but there was no denying Mulenga, whi beat three defenders before burying the ball in the bottom corner.
Line Up: Toaster Nsabata, Simon Silwimba, Fackson Kapumbu, Adrian Chama, Ziyo Tembo, Kondwani Mtonga, Donashano Malama, Ernest Mbewe, Augustine Mulenga, Friday Samu (Mike Katiba 52), Lazarous Kambole (Jack Chirwa 85).