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Zambia v Equatorial Guinea Match Report, 10/10/2021

FT
1 - 1
ZAM
EQG
F. Sakala (65)
Féderico Bikoro (82)
National Heroes Stadium
2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Zambia 1-1 Equatorial Guinea - Draw leaves Chipolopolo on the brink
20:58 GMT+3 10/10/2021
Fashion Sakala Zambia
Fashion Sakala's first goal for the 2012 African champions since June 2019 was not enough to earn his nation a victory

Zambia's hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Fifa World Cup finals were dented after they drew 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea at National Heroes Stadium on Sunday evening.

Fashion Sakala broke the deadlock to hand a Chipolopolo a well-deserved lead after the restart, but a late goal by Federico Bikoro ensured that the Group B encounter ended in a draw in Lusaka. 

Kelvin Kampamba, Emmanuel Banda, and Larry Bwalya were recalled to Zambia's starting line-up as coach Beston Chambeshi made three changes to the Chipolopolo team which faced and lost 2-0 to Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Thursday.

On the other hand, Nsue and Saul Coco, who both scored against Zambia, kept their places in the team as coach Juan Micha looked to lead the National Thunder to their third consecutive victory in Group B.

Zambia got off to a bright start as they pressed the Guinean defence and they should have taken the lead after the ball fell kindly for Kampamba in the box, but the 24-year-old winger was brilliantly denied by goalkeeper Jesus Owono.

Sakala, who was leading the Chipolopolo attack in the absence of Zambia's star striker Patson Daka, missed a sitter as he placed his shot wide of the target after finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Owono.

Chipolopolo continued to dominate the match, but they couldn't convert their chances as Clatous Chama's left-footed shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Owono and the score was 0-0 at the interval.

The Southern African giants continued to push for the opening goal after the restart and Chambeshi introduced Sweden-based forward Edward Chilufya just after the hour-mark, and the hosts finally broke the deadlock. 

The 22-year-old player was involved in the build-up to the goal which was scored by Sakala, who beat Owono with a decent finish to hand Zambia a 1-0 lead in the 65th minute and it was Rangers FC striker's second goal for Chipolopolo.

However, the hosts went to sleep at the back in the closing proceedings and they were punished by Bikoro as the Hercules CF midfielder hit the back of the net with eight minutes left to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 draw. 

Zambia's hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup finals are hanging by thread as they remained third on the group standings - five points behind leaders, Tunisia, while second-placed Equatorial Guinea boosted their ambitions by collecting a point.

Meanwhile, DR Congo registered their first defeat in Group J when they lost 1-0 to Madagascar away on Sunday and the result left the two teams in third, and fourth places, respectively on the group standings.

While Cape Verde reduced Nigeria's lead to two points on the Group C standings after securing a 1-0 victory over Liberia at home thanks to Ryan Mendes' 90th-minute goal.