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Zambia 1-1 Nigeria

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Emenike: Opened the scoring

Emenike: Opened the scoring

Defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Zambia came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Nigeria in a tough Group C match at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.

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Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike scored in the 57th minute, only for Chipolopolo captain Kennedy Mweene to slot home from the penalty spot in the 85th to keep his side's title retention hopes alive.

Both nations have now managed two points each from their two group games with one more to go.

Zambia dominated the first half but squandered good scoring chances, while midfield general John Obi Mikel threw away the best chance of the match for Nigeria.

The Zambians had a no-nonsense approach and climbed in to their more burly opponents as the gaunt midfielder Isaac Chansa lead the way with tough tackles.

Up front, Rainford Kalaba got the necessary service from Chisamba Lungu but skied his effort when a more controlled shot could have tested the goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

The Nigerians could not get out of their half but when they did, Victor Moses troubled the Zambians defence together with the speedy Ahmed Musa.

Zambian defender Davis Nkousa then made a clumsy challenge on Musa in the box and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Mikel stepped up and struck his shot low and hard to the far-left corner to beat a diving Mweene, but not the post.

The Zambians continued their offence from all angles but their best attacking move started in the middle.

Emmanuel Mayuka skinned two Nigerian players and set off towards goal and then played it out wide. The return pass from Chansa was disappointing as he played it in the path of keeper Enyeama who made a clean snatch.

The Super Eagles started the second stanza with more verve; Musa flew down the left wing but his cross-cum-shot needed a touch which Emenike just couldn't give at the far post.

The latter did more running up front and battled vigorously with defender Stoppila Sunzu.

Sunzu kept a close eye on the Nigerian number nine but he still got two shots at goal despite the special attention.

Frustration grew as every half-chance went a-miss and the Zambian defence seemed to be too stubborn.

However, Lungu foolishly attempted to dribble past Mikel who dispossessed him and sent an inch-perfect pass to Emenike who controlled with the first touch and then fired past Mweene.

The Zambian defenders showed their disapproval while Mikel was clearly relieved following his earlier penalty miss as his team-mates celebrated.

Nigeria then slowed the game down, only injecting pace with Musa on the right and it frustrated Zambia who were chasing the ball.

Chansa set up Kalaba with a lovely pass in to the big box, but his effort bounced off the onrushing keeper, and gratefully into his arms.

Chipolopolo upped their tempo while the Super Eagles remained composed until 10 minutes to go, a rather harmless tug by Ogenyi Onazi on Emmanuel Mayuka resulted in a penalty.

Despite the Nigerians protests to the referee, the penalty stood and the Copper Bullets' number one stepped up to take the spot-kick.

Mweene made no mistake with a cool finish in to the roof of the net to level the scores and keep Zambia's hopes alive of defending their crown.

Posted: 25/01/13 17:20

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