FULL TIME: Zambia 1 – 2 Tunisia

  • The referee blows his whistle for the final time. Tunisia snatch a victory from a game where they should not have had a prayer, based on the run of play. Zambia created chances by the truckload, but their incomprehensibly bad finishing was the killer. Mayuka’s goal just before the hour mark gave the Chipolopolo the lead, but late goals from Akaichi and Chikhaoui turned the game around. Tunisia top Group B on four points now, with Zambia bottom on just one.
  • 90′ + 3′
    Deep into added time now and Tunisia are doing well to keep the ball out of their own half. Zambia can’t even orchestrate a desperate punt forward to create a final chance at the death.
  • 90′ + 1′
    No hiding place for Zambia here. Their downfall has been entirely of their own doing with their discography of missed opportunities. As good as Chikhaoui’s header was, Mweene got a strong touch on it and could have pushed it away from goal.
  • 89′
    AssistYoussef Msakni
  • 89′
    GoalYassine Chikhaoui
    TUNISIA HAVE DONE IT! The Carthage Eagles surely have the points now! Msakni cuts onto his right foot and hits a cross to the near post for Chikhaoui to attack. The captain does the rest with his header!
  • 88′
    SubstitutionEvans Kangwa Mukuka Mulenga
  • 88′
    Kalaba squares a ball across the face of goal, but Musonda is challenged by Abdennour before he can pull the trigger. Meanwhile, Mulenga hurries onto the field as Janza makes another substitution.
  • 87′
    Are we set for yet another 1-1 draw in Group B?
  • 86′
    Manser plays a quick pass to Chikhaoui, who squeezes a ball towards goal from the byline, but Mweene covers his post well to divert the ball out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
  • 84′
    No chances to speak of in the last few minutes, but it’s the Carthage Eagles who look the more likely side to steal a winner in the closing stages. Zambia have lost their edge.
  • 82′
    Manser and Mbola embark on a footrace for a ball down the right-hand side, and the former goes tumbling. He’s looking for a penalty, but the defender barely touched him. Good call from the referee, who has had a few questionable decisions today.
  • 80′
    SubstitutionAhmed Akaichi Hamza Younes
  • 80′
    Mweene takes unnecessarily long to line up a goal kick as time ticks away. The atmosphere has deflated out of this game and the fans attempt a haphazard Mexican wave to perk things up.
  • 79′
    Yellow CardChristopher Munthali
  • 78′
    Kangwa takes aim from about 20 yards, but it’s right down the throat of Mathlouthi. For Zambia, an effort on target should be a cause for a lap of honour. Their shooting has been that bad.
  • 76′
    Night time here in Ebebiyin, with less than a quarter of an hour remaining. Hard to call this game even at this late stage, but I have a feeling that the goalscoring may not quite be done.
  • 75′
    SubstitutionJamel Saihi Ferjani Sassi
  • 74′
    Zambia look disjointed since conceding, and haven’t been able to orchestrate in an attacking sense. The momentum has shifted squarely to the Eagles, who ma fancy their chances at winning a game that threatened to be blown out of their reach at more than one stage.
  • 72′
    Mayuka has finally been officially substituted, with Jackson Mwanza coming on in his place. Zambia must be kicking themselves right now. How is this game still a contest with the chances that they’ve had?
  • 71′
    SubstitutionEmmanuel Mayuka Jackson Mwanza
  • 70′
    GoalAhmed Akaichi
    TUNISIA ARE LEVEL! Severely against the run of play, but the Carthage Eagles don’t care! From a corner, Tunisia win the initial header at the near post and Akaichi arrives at the opposite side to sweep home!
  • 69′
    Mayuka has to be stretchered off behind the goal to get looked at. He really did extend himself in an unwieldy fashion trying to get onto Kalaba’s ball. I really hope he’s alright.
  • 67′
    CHANCES ON TOP OF CHANCES! Kalaba puts in work again down the left wing, spraying a glorious ball to the far post for Mayuka. The forward stretches awkwardly but misses a sitter. He’s in some real pain though, and looks to have pulled his groin. Ouch.
  • 66′
    SubstitutionWahbi Khazri Mohamed Manser
  • 65′
    SIDE NETTING! Musonda, cutting in from the right flank, leaves a defender struggling before cracking an effort that ripples the wrong side of the net! Zambia are sniffing a second goal here!
  • 63′
    Only a fool would suggest that Zambia haven’t deserved this lead. Their attacking enterprise has simply bee a joy to watch at times. If their shooting was even a little better, then Tunisia would be dead and buried already.
  • 61′
    ZAMBIA COME AGAIN! Kangwa strides past a challenge and advances into the Tunisia box. He has time and space, but once again, the shooting is dreadful. Sliced wide of the target. and the Chipolopolo midfielder may have hurt himself in the process.
  • 59′
    AssistRainford Kalaba
  • 59′
    GoalEmmanuel Mayuka
    ZAMBIA TAKE THE LEAD! Kalaba does the hard work, holding off two defenders in traffic and hooking a cross towards Mayuka, who slams a half-volley into the back of the net!
  • 57′
    Some very scrappy fouls coming in that is breaking up what little flow that this game had. It’s not been pretty to witness in the last few minutes. however, Mbola challenges Msakni on the edge of the box and gets away with one.
  • 54′
    Zambia are quick to get back in numbers whenever Tunisia break. The Chipolopolo have also been looking to get quick balls over the top to catch the Carthage Eagles out early.
  • 52′
    Youssef comes within a breath of connecting with a header from a corner. Better from Tunisia, who have started with a little more attacking intensity. Zambia still look comfortable though.
  • 51′
    Yellow CardRainford Kalaba
  • 50′
    The Estadio de Ebebiyin is quite a picturesque venue. The classic acacia tree dots the landscape outside the stadium, making for some stunning views as the sun begins to set.
  • 48′
    No substitutions from the first half, but there might be one soon as Kangwa is down on the deck in need of treatment. This must be the fourth time in this game that a player has been on the deck for an extended time.
  • 46′
    Here we go again.
  • The end of an entertaining first half of football, with the score somehow still goalless. This is thanks mainly to Zambia having all the accuracy of someone at a urinal after a two-night bender. The Chipolopolo have done everything else right but bulge Mathlouthi’s net. Tunisia have barely lived up to their tag as tourney favourites and are lucky to still have every chance of winning this game in the second half. Stay tuned.
  • 45′ + 1′
    This is turning into Amateur Night at the Apollo in the Tunisia box. Zambia manufacture ANOTHER golden chance to score, but Mayuka swipes at air as a ball set up nicely for the smash from 12 yards.
  • 44′
    This has not been a good tournament for the favourites so far. Hosts Equatorial Guinea and perennial underwhelmers Cote d’Ivoire have slumped to below-par results, and Tunisia are also up against it here. Zambia have easily looked the more likely side to take the lead.
  • 42′
    NOOOOOO! What a chance passed up by the Chipolopolo! Mayuka has the freedom of the Estadio de Ebebiyin at the back post to direct a header on goal, but he plants it right at Mathlouthi! He beats the turf in frustration as that opportunity evaporates into thin air.
  • 40′
    Msakni does everything right but the finish. With some unbelievably swift footwork, he leaves three men with a mouthful of turf and has every right to try his luck from the edge of the area. However, calling his effort a daisy-cutter would be kind.
  • 38′
    MORE ZAMBIA PRESSURE! From a corner, the Chipolopolo work a corner towards the near post. Tunisia can only clear the ball to the opposite side, and when the cross comes in, Sunzu forces a push save from Mathlouthi!
  • 36′
    Maaloul, under pressure from Kangwa, nearly sells his team down the river. His weak clearance is pounced on by Kalaba inside the area, and you cam probably guess what happened next. Snap shot just the wrong side of Mathlouthi’s left-hand post.
  • 34′
    BULLET! Kalaba has been Zambia’s danger man, no doubt! For the third time in the first half, he attacks the ball centrally, and strikes a vicious effort that is too hot for Mathlouthi to handle. Pushed wide!
  • 33′
    The match has resumed with Mweene back between the posts. One thing’s for sure, we’re going to have a meaty chunk of stoppage time tacked onto the end of this first half.
  • 31′
    This looks serious for Mweene, who looks completely dazed and is surrounded by a throng of medics. He’s getting his head iced, as that was a pretty solid blow from the shoulder of the burly Akaichi, no matter how unintentional. If there’s any risk of concussion, he should play no further part.
  • 30′
    Mweene races off his line to confront Akaichi, who was attempting to latch onto a long ball over the top. The two players crunch together nastily, and it looks like the Chipolopolo keeper has come out worse for wear.
  • 28′
    After Abdennour narrowly clears a low cross, Kalaba picks up the loose ball at the top of the box and for the second time in this game, flashes an effort just wide of Mathlouthi’s left-hand post.
  • 26′
    Msakni does well to relieve pressure on himself in the midfield with some silky footwork, but then tries to release Akaichi down the right-hand side with a long ball that is easily read by the defence.
  • 24′
    Sunzu advances into unfamiliar territory down the right-hand side and tries to beat Bedoui to the byline, but gets called for the foul after the Tunisia defender went down like a sack of bricks.
  • 22′
    Chikhaoui, the Tunisia captain, gets penalized for a high boot that nearly whacked Munthali in the face. Cue an old grandma screeching: “You’ll put his eye out!” Lucky not to be booked there.
  • 20′
    I have to say that both teams have approached this game with a staunch commitment to defensive organization. Both back lines are moving as a unit and with ample support from the midfield, space is a hard thing to come by.
  • 18′
    Tunisia try to get the game back under their control, and Mweene needs to react quickly to thwart a cracker from the wide man Saihi, who attacked a bouncing ball from at least 25 yards.
  • 16′
    MORE FROM ZAMBIA! This time, the Chipolopolo attack centrally, and Kalaba’s 25-yard stinger whistles past the bottom corner! Mathlouthi looked to just about have it covered.
  • 14′
    Stoppila Sunzu may be the greatest name ever.
  • 13′
    A more even flow to the game now with Zambia starting to launch concerted attacks down the right-hand side. It’s Tunisia’s turn to defend, and they’re doubling up on the flanks.
  • 11′
    Musonda gets the ball down the right on the break, and cuts back to hook a left-footed cross into the area. Singuluma challenges Bedoui and Mathlouthi for the ball, and the Tunisia defender is left seeing stars after that challenge. He’ll be alright though.
  • 9′
    Musonda gets the crowd worked up into a lather with some step-overs that leave Maaloul for dead, but the midfielder ruins all of his good work with a poor cross that goes miles away.
  • 7′
    The Chipolopolo don’t look very coordinated when in possession. Tunisia are able to handle their attacking forays well thanks to the lack of movement from the Zambia attacking players.
  • 5′
    Good start this from Tunisia, who are pushing a lot of men forward and forcing Zambia deep into their own half to defend.They’re utilizing the full backs on the overlap to boot.
  • 3′
    WAS THAT A PENALTY? Sunzu took the ball squarely on his hand after a move from Khazri. There wasn’t much intent from the Zambia defender but it was right on his hand! Tunisia can feel hard done by.
  • 1′
    We’re off!
  • Tunisia will look to Wahbi Khazri, who was their top scorer during qualification and has scored six in 13 for his country. Playing on the right side of midfield, he will be expected to burst in from the flanks and centrally as the situation demands.
  • Influential Chipolopolo midfielder Nathan Sinkala has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to a knee injury, which leaves Honour Janza with selection problems since AFCON rules prevent replacement players. A lot will rest on Emmanuel Mayuka, with the forward already bagging 11 goals for his country, making him the highest-scoring player in the squad.
  • Tunisia (4-3-3): Mathlouthi; Ben Youssef, Abdennour, Bedoui, Maaloul; Ragued, Chikhaoui, Khazri; Saihi, Akaichi, Msakni.
  • Zambia (4-2-3-1): Mweene; Mbola, Sunzu, Nkausu, Munthali; Mtonga, Musonda; Mayuka, Kangwa, Kalaba; Singuluma.
  • Zambia haven’t tasted victory any of their last four Cup of Nations clashes with Tunisia, as the Carthage Eagles have won two and drawn two during that span – including a 4-2 win in the semi-final of 1996. Tunisia have made three quarter-final and two first-round exits since they last won the tournament in 2004.
  • Like fellow favourites Cote d’Ivoire before then, Tunisia saw their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations campaigns get off to a stuttering start with a 1-1 draw against Cape Verde. Coach Georges Leekens has vowed to right the ship in this game, but played down talk of his team topping the Group B section.
  • Zambia won this competition in 2012 but will view their opening draw against Democratic Republic of Congo as two points dropped. They face a side tonight widely regarded as tournament favourites, but the Chipolopolo are not fazed at all, judging by their pre-match comments.