Zambia produced a spirited performance to come from behind to prevail 2-1 over Comoros in their second group game in the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Tuesday.
The Chipolopolo needed a last-gasp goal to overcome the stubborn visitors at the National Heroes Park in Lusaka to get their campaign back on track.
Zambia recorded their first competitive victory under Croatian trainer Aljoša Asanović’ to put behind them the 3-1 defeat to Cote d’Ivoire in the opening qualifier.
The home side started the game as the better side yet it was Comoros who scored first in the 13th minute after El Fardou Ben Mohammed put the ball past goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata benefiting from a miscommunication with defender Tandi Mwape.
Striker Fashion Sakala had made two attempts to get the opening goal of the match but Comoros goalie Ali Ahamada saved all the efforts.
Ahamada stretched to his fullest length to make a wonderful fingertip save to deny the Chipolopolo again in the 29th minute stopping Fashion Sakala’s effort from the edge of the box from finding the back of the net.
Zambia came close to levelling the scoreline two minutes from the break but Lubambo Musonda saw his left footed shot from distance struck the woodwork.
The Chipolopolo finally got the equaliser on the stroke of halftime after captain Enock Mwepu scored a delightful goal after controlling the ball with his chest following a rebound from a corner.
The Coelancanthes nearly scored again to restore their advantage 12 minutes into the second period after Kassim M’Dahoma’s attempt was tipped over the crossbar by Nsabata.
Substitute Kings Kangwa got the match winner two minutes from time to save the day for the Chipolopolo with a stunning free-kick from the edge of the box which beat unmoved Ahamada.
Zambia joined Cote d’Ivoire and Comoros on three points on the league standings with the victory. Cote d’Ivoire will take on Lesotho in their second group fixture.
Zambia tackle Lesotho in back-to-back fixtures in the next round of matches in Group H in September.
Meanwhile Cape Verde got their 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign back on track when defeating Togo 2-0 on Tuesday night.
The Blue Sharks recovered from their loss to Burkina Faso on the opening matchday to record the victory at the Estadio Municipal Aderito Sena in Mindelo.
An early goal by Julio Tavares and Jamiro Monteiro’s stoppage time strike were enough for the home side to seal the Group B win in Praia.
Cape Verde coach Pedro Leitao Bubista made a couple of alterations to the team that suffered a 2-0 defeat in the hands of Burkina Faso few days ago in Marrakech.
Deroy Duarte, Jovane Cabral and Julio Tavares were brought into the starting list while Sixten Mohlin got his second start in goal in a row for the first time.
Portugal-born and former Manchester United player Bebé was also named in the Cape Verde starting line-up to make his second competitive appearance. He made his debut this year.
Togo boss Paulo Duarte faced the Blue Sharks with the same starting line-up that were held to a 2-2 stalemate by Eswatini four days ago at the Stade de Kegue in Lome.
Cape Verde had their early dominance in the game pay off in the 10th minute when Tavares put them ahead and that goal was the difference at the break.
Three substitutions by Duarte at the start of the second half with the introductions of Floyd Ayité, David Henen and Gnama Akate saw the Sparrowhawks improve their performance.
Despite the uplift in performance, Togo still failed to register a shot on target from their seven attempts on goal with the Cape Verdians scoring again in additional time through Monteiro to seal the vital win.
Cape Verde claim their first win of the qualifiers to move to the second place with three points behind Burkina Faso in Group B standings with their next matches coming up against Eswatini in September.