Zambia Loses Hope In Qualifying To The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 After Being Beaten By Equatorial Guinea
Zambia’s men’s team lost their second straight match, hence the Chipolopolo’s bid to qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup finals suffered a huge shock when they played the better part of the match with 10 men to lose 2-0 to Equatorial Guinea at Nuevo Estadio de Malabo on Thursday.
A 35th-minute goal by Saul Coco and a later strike by Emilio Nsue sank the Zambians who slid down from second spot in Group B to third.
Equatorial Guinea swapped positions with Chipolopolo and are now in second position behind leaders Tunisia who were due to play Mauritania at home later on.
After losing 2-0 to Tunisia at home in their last match, it was a second consecutive defeat for Chipolopolo who had started the campaign on a promising note with an away 2-1 victory over Mauritania.
On Thursday, hosts Equatorial Guinea started with Getafe midfielder Jose Miranda Boacho, former Middlesbrough defender Nsue and a number of players who ply their trade in the Spanish lower leagues.
Zambia coach Beston Chambeshi arrived in Malabo without one of their key players, captain Enock Mwepu of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Mwepu has a groin injury while the Djurgadens duo of striker Edward Chilufya and midfielder Emmanuel Banda could also not travel to Malabo but will be available for the return leg in Lusaka on Sunday.
Midway through Thursday’s match, things turned horrible for Chipolopolo when midfielder Prince Mumba was red-carded in the 25th minute.
With Zambia now having to deal with their numerical disadvantage, the hosts struck 10 minutes later through Las Palmas defender Coco.
Zambia struggled to hit the back of the net until the match went for half-time while they trailed.
Chambeshi introduced Zesco United midfielder Kelvin Mubanga for Lubambo Musonda on 64 minutes but Zambia still struggled for creativity.
The visitors were also battling to cover up for being one man short and even the withdrawal of Clatous Chama for Larry Bwalya could not help matters.
A misfiring Fashion Sakala also had to be substituted with eight minutes to go but the introduction of Moses Phiri was not effective.
As Zambia sought solutions to at least level matters, the hosts ended the contest when Nsue struck deep into injury time to deflate the Zambians.
Chipolopolo will now host Nzalang Nacional on Sunday as they seek to recover from Thursday’s setback.