Five different players scored for Zambia as they thrashed Zimbabwe 5-1 in their 2016 Cosafa U20 Championships Group B opening match played at the Moruleng Stadium on Wednesday.
Patson Daka and Edward Chilufya netted in the first half while Chrispine Sakulanda, Fashion Sakala and Moses Nyondo found the back of the net in the second half.
Bukhosi Sibanda pulled a goal back through a penalty with three minutes remaining on the clock after a reckless challenge inside the box by Boyd Musonda.
Zimbabwe had started the match with purpose and their players exchanged passes at will in Zambia’s half in the opening exchanges but their play in the final third was poor.
Zambia slowly crept back into the game and began to dominate the run of play after the half hour mark with Sakala, Sakulanda, Daka, Chilufya and Enock Mwepu looking dangerous every time they ventured forward.
It was Mwepu who provided the pass for the opener in the centre of the pack, releasing Daka at the top of the box for the striker to break the deadlock in the 40th minute with a low effort that went in on the left side of goalkeeper Nelson Chadya.
Edward Chilufya added the second goal three minutes later after he leaped highest to head home from Solomon Sakala’s floated delivery for Beston Chambeshi’s men to lead 2-0 at the break.
Sakulanda made it 3-0 in the 60th minute and Sakala put the game beyond Zimbabwe on 82 minutes when he fired home from close range after skillfully fending off a defender’s challenge before rounding goalkeeper Chadya.
When the game looked like it was done and dusted, there was enough time for Zimbabwe to pull a goal back from the penalty spot through Bukhosi Sibanda and another one by Zambian substitute Moses Nyondo who combined in additional time with fellow substitute Kenneth Kalunga for the match to end 5-1 in favour of the ten-time champions.
“First and foremost I have to thank the boys. It is always tough every time we play Zimbabwe but our boys played well and am happy with the good fight they put up.
“Our objective was to start with a win and we now have to prepare for the match with Malawi.”
Chambeshi singled out late call up Prosper Chiluya who joined the squad after Boyd Mkandawire was ruled out due to injury.
“I am happy with they way Prosper played after joining the squad late; it is a sign that we have a strong team and that each player can play,” Chambeshi said.