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Zambia 1-1 Ethiopia

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Ethiopia: Held AFCON champs Zambia

Ethiopia: Held AFCON champs Zambia

Africa Cup of Nations minnows Ethiopia held Zambia to a 1-1 draw in their Group C clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday, despite having their goalkeeper sent off in the first half.

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The Walya Antelopes also had a penalty saved by Chipolopolo 'keeper Kennedy Mweene, before Jemal Tassew was sent off for a reckless lunge.

Collins Mbesuma then netted the opener in first-half stoppage time, but Adane Grima fired home with 65 minutes played for a share of the spoils.

The Copper Bullets dominated much of the attacking play and the early possession as they looked to force the opener in Nelspruit.

However, the Ethiopians gave as good as they got given the opportunities, with Saladine Said making several runs and thrusts.

Said then almost made Chipolopolo pay in the 17th minute, his pop over Mweene having bounced short of the goal-line and then over the crossbar - this after Stophira Sunzu's clearance was miscued and allowed the Ethiopian attacker in to try and embarrass the defence.

Ethiopia were then presented with the perfect chance to open the scoring when Chisamba Lungu was adjudged to have brought down Said inside the penalty box on 23 minutes.

But Mweene proved why his one of the Premier Soccer League's trusted glovemen when the Free State Stars shot-stopper dove to his left to deny the Antelopes the early breakthrough.

Drama then ensued in the 32nd minute when Tassew was shown a red card in the 36th minute as he was stretchered from the pitch following his kung-fu clearance on Chisamba Lungu.

Play then had to be brought to a stand-still as players and stewards cleared the pitch of bottles, vuvuzelas and litter thrown onto the field by disgruntled Ethiopian supporters.

With the one-man advantage in their favour, Zambia pushed up in earnest and were duly rewarded on the stroke of half-time through Mbesuma.

Mbesuma chested the ball down before cooly slotting home to the left of replacement 'keeper Zerihun Tadelle, the burly striker having latched onto Isaac Chansa's excellent touch-on into the 18-yard area.

Chipolopolo threw everything at their less fancied opponents after the interval, and looked as if it was only a matter of time before they doubled their lead.

But almost against the run-of-play, the Ethiopians sent their passionate fans into raptures when replacement midfielder Addis Hintsa combined well with Said, who then put his skipper in on goal.

Grima, having pushed up in attack down the right on his coach's instructions, took his chance with aplomb as he struck past Mweene at the near post.

Zambia coach Herve Renard then cleared his bench of all his attackers in search of the match-winner, Mukuka Mulenga, Jacob Mulenga and Emmanuel Mayuka all introduced and making their presence felt up front in the latter stages.

But it was Nathan Sinkala who squandered the Copper Bullets' best effort at the death when he skewed his shot from out in front off Mukuka Mulenga's free-kick from the right.

With African giants Nigeria to contest the group's other encounter later in the day against Burkina Faso, Zambia will feel much aggrieved at having only managed a point first time out.

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Posted: 21/01/13 16:56

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