Zambia threw out
the form book on the opening day of the Africa Cup of Nations by
handing Group A favourites Senegal a surprise 2-1 defeat.
Goals from Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba ensured a
sensational start to the finals after success earlier on
Saturday for co-hosts Equatorial Guinea on their tournament
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Swift counter-attacks combined with sloppy defending allowed
Zambia to burst into an early lead and they weathered a second
half fight back to upset the odds.
Mayuka headed the opener after 12 minutes followed by a
breakaway goal for Kalaba nine minutes later.
Mayuka's goal showed up vulnerabilities in Senegal's
imposing back-line with the diminutive Zambia players outjumping
and outmuscling their bigger opponents for the ball.
Senegal were also caught for pace. Zambia captain Chris
Katongo threaded the ball through for Kalaba to beat the offside
trap for the second goal as Senegal's defence looked static.
The stunned Lions of Teranga might have given away a third
goal five minutes before half-time were it not for a fine save by
their American-based goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
But with two changes for the start of the second half,
Senegal took the initiative and saw Moussa Sow and Demba Ba miss
from close range before Ba again hit the bar with a header.
Substitute Dame Ndoye scored with just over 15 minutes to go
by chesting the ball down and turning it home from an acute
angle but in the end his effort was only a consolation.
Senegal's impressive form in the qualifiers had left them
highly fancied to dominate the group and challenge for the title
but they must now beat Equatorial Guinea in Bata on Wednesday to
Equatorial Guinea upset Libya 1-0 in the opening Group A
match in Bata on Saturday.
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