Thursday Oct 07, 2021. 20:00
Equatorial Guinea jumped into second place on Africa’s Group B standings in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers after they defeated 10-man Zambia 2-0 at Estadio de Malabo on Thursday evening.
The result sees Nzalang Nacional join group leaders Tunisia (who play Mauritania at home later the same night) on six points, while Chipolopolo drop to third on three points.
The teams were evenly matched from the start and found a passing rhythm through the first 20 minutes or so, though it was Equatorial Guinea who built more pressure in the final third.
This showed just past the midway point of the first half when Zambia’s Prince Mumba was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle in midfield.
With a man’s advantage, Nzalang Nacional naturally took control of the game and claimed the lead on 35 minutes, with defender Saul Coco getting on the end of a set piece and steering the ball beyond Chipolopolo goalkeeper Cyril Chibwe.
The hosts looked to add to their advantage before the interval, but Zambia’s defence was able to consolidate, re-organise and see through to the half-time break with the score still 1-0 in favour of Equatorial Guinea.
The home side made a switch at the start of the second stanza, with Mese replacing Basilio Ndong in defence, and they continued to boss possession and look for a path to a second goal.
Yet Zambia weren’t without moments of danger themselves, with Patson Daka and Cletous Chama having shots which stung the palms of goalkeeper Jesus Owono.
Equatorial Guinea opted for a double change just after the midway point of the second half, as Luis Nlavo and Pablo Ganet were introduced in an effort to shake up things in midfield and attack.
Eventually Nzalang Nacional’s persistence paid off, and they claimed the killer second goal on 87 minutes through Emilio Nsue, wrapping up three points and keeping them in the running for 2022 World Cup Qualification.
The teams will meet in the reverse fixture at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Sunday 10 October.
Equatorial Guinea (1) 2 (Coco 35’, Nsue 87’)
E. Guinea: Owono, Akapo, Anieboh, Bikoro, Buyla (Ganet 69’), Coco, Josete (Belima 85’), Machin (Nlavo 69’), Ndong (Mese 46’), Nsue, Siafa (Obama 85’)
Zambia: Chibwe, Chama, Chanda, Chapa, Chepeshi, Chiluya, Daka, Mumba, L. Musonda (Kampamba 64’), Mwape, Sakala (Phiri 82’)