Zambian goalie Kennedy Mweene was the hero for the defending champions as his late penalty strike salvaged a 1-1 draw against Nigeria in a Group C match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelpruit.
It was the two side’s second successive draw in the competition after being held by less fancied Burkina Faso and Ethiopia in their opening games.
This was the classic game of two halves – Zambia dominated the first period, but Nigeria stepped up after the interval.
Russian based striker Emmanuel Emenike gave Nigeria the lead in the 57th minute, when he was set up by Mikel Obi after he stole the ball from Chisamba Lungu who had a poor day at office.
Kennedy Mweene restored parity for Chipolopolo in the 85th minute when he slotted past Enyeama after Ogenyi Onazi was adjudged by Egyptian referee to have brought down Emmanuel Mayuka.
Zambia were on top of their game in a goalless first half and created the better chances but failed to put away any.
They enjoyed more of the possession with Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka’s header missing the target very early on, before Kalaba fired at the Eagles goal on 16 minutes off a Chisamba Lungu cross.
However, it was Nigeria who got the first real chance of the game when they got a penalty following Davis Nkausu’s foul on Ahmed Musa inside the forbidden area but Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi’s effort beat a diving Kennedy Mweene, but came off the foot of the post.
Three minutes later, skipper Enyeama was again called to duty when he had to dive full stretch to hold firmly to a Chisamba free-kick from outside the box.
After the break, Nigeria got off to a flying start as Emenike troubled the Zambia defence severally and it was not long before he would score his second goal of the tournament.
Emenike gave Nigeria the lead in the 57th minute, when he was set up by Mikel Obi after he stole the ball from Chisamba Lungu.
Mweene drew Zambia level in the 85th minute when he slotted past Enyeama after Ogenyi Onazi was adjudged to have brought down Emmanuel Mayuka to see the game end 1-1.
Both teams will now have to wait till their final group games to determine their fate in this competition as they are both on two points each, while Ethiopia and Burkina Faso will slug it out in the second game of the day.