Zambia started their World Cup qualifying campaign on a positive note by beating Congo Brazzaville 4 goals to 2 in a thrilling encounter played at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
A Patson Daka brace with a goal each by Italian based forward, Lameck Banda and Fashion Sakala, ensured that Zambia ascended to the summit of Group E at the expense of Congo.
Quick-fire goals in a space of two minutes in the first half by Silvere and Bons Bassouamina brought an early scare to the Chipolopolo faithful but in the end, they proved to be consolation goals.
Daka drew first blood as early as the 5th minute of the match.
But the Congolese had other ideas by breaching the Zambian defence in the 13th minute through Silvere before taking the lead two minutes later after a Bassouamina goal.
Zambia came close in the 31st minute when Lameck Banda hit the post from six yards out.
The Copper Bullets almost scored an equaliser in the 36th minute through a Fashion goal but it was ruled offside.
Seven minutes later, Banda was not to be denied a second time.
The forward, who plies his trade in Italy, picked up a loose ball from outside the box before dribbling a Congolese defender inside the eighteen area and firing home to restore parity at the stroke of half time.
In the second half, Zambia continued to dominate possession but lacked creativity much to the anxiety of the home crowd.
It was only until the 70th minute that Fashion scored from a Lameck Banda cross to put Zambia ahead for the second time in the match.
Banda who seemed to have picked up an injury was substituted by coach Avram Grant who brought on Edward Chilufya.
But the substitution that made a difference was when Tanzanian based midfielder Clatous Chama came on for Benson Sakala on 66 minutes.
Chama made an immediate impact by chipping the ball into the path of Kings Kangwa in the opposition box but the Red Star Belgrade midfielder failed to properly control the ball.
Triple C as Chama is fondly refered to by fans produced a piece of magic when he delivered a long pass from the half way line to Fashion who was on the left flank.
Fashion in turn crossed the ball to Daka who made a dummy before the ball could ricocheted from an opposition player and fall kindly for the Leicester City man to slot home from close range, to settle the fixture deep into stoppage time.
Zambia will be confident when the qualifying campaign resumes next week Tuesday away to Niger.
Chipolopolo is chasing a maiden World Cup appearance.
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