Shonga rescues Chipolopolo

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Justin Shonga came off the bench to salvage a point for the Zambia national team as they held Namibia to a 1-all draw in the second Group K match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, Saturday afternoon.

The Orlando Pirates striker’s long-range freekick took a slight deflection off the Namibian wall and wrong-footed goal minder Virgil Vries to¬†cancel out Benson Shilongo’s 78th minute opener and give both teams their first points of the group.

Fashion Sakala struck the woodwork and the Chipolopolo had a genuine shout waved away late on but it was a largely forgettable first game in charge for new coach Sven Vandenbroek.

The Belgian had named a strong starting 11 featuring four Afcon 2012 winners and three of Under-20 side that took Africa and the world by storm last year and his selection appeared to be justified as the Chipolopolo made all the early running, forcing two corners inside the opening five minutes.

But the home side gradually grew into the contest and had the first real chance of the game when Kennedy Mweene had to be at full stretch to keep out Dion Hotto’s freekick.

The same player should have grabbed the lead for the hosts but shot agonisingly wide when put through on goal by Riann Hanamub.

The final piece of action in the first half saw the returning Rianford Kalaba, who had struggled to impose himself on the game, heading Solomon Sakala’s inviting cross over the bar.

Vandenbroek’s side were unlucky not to take the leads 10 minutes after the restart when Fashion Sakala’s close range volley came back off the post.

Augustine Mulenga shot high and wide in the 62nd minute when it seemed easier to score and the visitors were made to pay for their profligacy 16 minutes later when a brilliant Namibia move down the left culminated into substitute Shilongo walking the ball into the net.

Galvanized by the introduction of Enock Mwepu, the Chipolopolo laid siege to the Namibia goal but Vries pulled off a couple of top class saves to deny Patson Daka and Substitute Lubambo Musonda.

The Chipolopolo appeared destined for a second straight defeat but Shonga came to the rescue in the second minute of added time when his deflected freekick flew into the net to keep alive the hopes of making it to Cameron 2019.

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