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KUMASI, Ghana (AFP) — Zambia scored a comfortable 3-0 win over a spirited Sudan in a Group C battle of the outsiders in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations here at the Baba Yara Stadium on Tuesday.
The Chipolopolo, as the Zambian team are known, took an early lead through a James Chamanga lob after just two minutes and added a second five minutes after the interval through the outstanding Jacob Mulenga.
Felix Katongo further punished poor defending by Sudan when he tapped home the third goal in the 59th minute after goalkeeper Abdalla Elmuez failed to hold on to a shot by Rainford Kalaba.
Zambia coach Patrick Phiri said: “It was important that we won this match but I noticed some few lapses in our defence and this we must work on before our next game against Cameroon.”
“Zambia had a good game today,” admitted Sudan coach Mohamed Abdallah. “They took their chances well. Probably if we had done same earlier in the game, we would be talking a different thing now.”
“We like to play under pressure and so expect us to play a lot better in our next game.”
A downcast Sudan striker Faisat Agab added: “We lost this game but must now look forward to our next two games and see what we can make of them.”
Zambia sit atop Group C after the 4-2 win posted by Egypt over four-time champions Cameroon earlier in the day.
After going in front, the south Africans, who were without their leading scorer Christopher Katongo through suspension, pressed on as in-form Chamanga combined well with Felix Katongo in the ninth minute only for Katongo’s shot from on top of the box to scream across the face of goal.
Badr Eldin’s scorching effort from 30 yards nearly got Sudan an equaliser after 12 minutes but it came off the woodwork with goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene well beaten.
The quick inter-change of passes and movement by the fleet-footed Zambian forwards spearheaded by the exciting Mulenga often got the Sudan back four into trouble but big defender Ritshard Jastein proved a steadying influence for this team back in the Nations Cup after a 32-year absence.
As time wore on Sudan found their bearing and began to take control of the midfield as they strung passes among themselves with great understanding. They would even have drawn level on 29 minutes but Gibril Alaedin ballooned his shot into the stands when it would have been much easier to score.
Zambia looked dangerous when they counter-attacked while the Nile Crocodiles enjoyed more of the ball but this was mostly in their own half of the pitch and so did not really trouble their opponents.
Sudanese target man Faisat Agab’s bouncing header on 48 minutes produced a finger-tip save from Mweene but Katongo responded for Zambia almost immediately as Elmuez was forced to stretch his giant frame before he could scramble the ball for a corner.
Mulenga headed home from the resultant corner for Zambia’s second goal of the night before Katongo added a third with a cool tap-in.
Mweene was forced to produce an unusual punch-out of Jasteine’s 66th minute powerful freekick as Sudan continued to mount pressure for a consolation goal but again and again they did not have the ammunition to get on the score board.
Mulenga was denied a second goal by Elmuez who dived full length to parry for a corner the lively Zambian striker’s goal-bound header in the 84th minute.
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