Zambia and Congo Brazaville U23 national sides met on Wednesday 4th September, at the National Heroes Stadium in the first leg of the 2019 AFCON final round qualifier.
Zambia coming from a home and away victory over Malawi fielded in a very squad with five European based players in the starting 11. The home side got off to a much needed flying start with an early Fashion Sakala opener in the first half. Zambia took the game to the visitors, creating a good number of chances but were not clinical enough in the final third.
Beston Chambeshi’s charges went all guns blazing with an all out attack but looked shaky at the back. Right back Shemmy Mayembe gifted Congo a clear cut opportunity with a misplaced back pass but the visitors were a little too shy on goal to accept the gift.
Zambia’s defensive lapses proved costly as Jacques Temopele equalised with a glancing header in the first minute of the second half. The equaliser seemed to be an energizer as the visitors now played with more intent dictating play in the middle of the park as the hosts looked to be in Sixs and sevens.
The Zambian technical bench made three tactical changes in hope of salvaging something from the game. This paid dividends late on in the match as Sakala cool, calm and collectedly slotted in a late winner to send a full capacity National Heroes Stadium into a frenzy.
Zambia now go into the return leg of the final round qualifier to be played on Sunday in Congo Brazaville.
FT: Zambia 2-1 Congo Brazaville