Zambia upset Senegal
Emmanuel Mayuka (Backpage)
Bata - Zambia pulled off the first upset of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations when they defeated favourites Senegal 2-1 here on Saturday night.
Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba scored in the first half before substitute Dame N’doye pulled one back for Senegal in the second half.
Chipolopolo dominated the match from the onset and crafted the first chance of the match in the third minute when they surprised Senegal with quick short corner, but Christopher Katongo sent his shot wide.
Zambia continued to look threatening on attack and eventually opened the scoring in the 12th minute from a set piece when Chisamba Lungu floated a deep free kick into the box which was headed across for Emmanuel Mayuka to beat Bouna Coundoul.
Senegal came close to recording a quick response two minutes later, also from a dead-ball situation, when Moussa Sow met a Mamadou Niang free kick with a glancing header at the near post, but Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene showed great reflexes to push the ball out for a corner.
The action was at the other end a minute later when Coundoul was forced to come out of his area to block Mayuka, however, Zambia continued with the attack only for Isaac Chansa’s shot to be blocked by Souleymane Diawara.
Herve Renard’s men doubled their lead 21st minute from a counter-attacking move which saw captain Katongo playing a perfect through-pass for Rainford Kalaba who partly rounded the goalkeeper before firing a low shot into the back of the net.
Newcastle striker Demba Ba was kept quiet for most of the first half but he did create an opportunity in the final minute of the first half with a brilliant turn inside the box only for his shot to be blocked by a diving Stophira Sunzu.
Senegal made a change at the break, introducing Issiar Dia for Mamadou Niang and the substitute went on a great run on the right flank in the 52nd minute before cutting the ball across for Moussa Sow, but his shot went narrowly over the bar.
In the 70th minute another substitute Papiss Cisse found new club teammate Demba Ba at the far post but his effort crashed against the woodwork as Senegal continued to push forward for their first goal of the tournament.
Their dominance in the second half paid off four minutes later when Dame N’doye brought down a Guirane N’Daw cross with his chest before beating Keneedy Mweene with a low shot at the near post.
There were clear signs of heavy legs from the Zambian side in the closing stages of the match but in the end they were able to hold on for an impressive victory against one of the tournament favourites.