Veterans Christopher Katongo and Isaac Chansa made the difference for Zambia as the outfit overpowered Zimbabwe to claim a 1-0 win in Group D of the 2016 African Nations Championship on Tuesday at the Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu.
The duo put up a brilliant show that elevated the side to their first Group D win ahead of the Uganda-Mali encounter later in the evening.
Zambia were the better side especially in terms of possession until Zimbabwe drew first blood when Francsisco Zekumbawira released Ronald Chitiyo, Jacob Banda parrying away the ball off the woodwork.
Zimbabwe’s Donovan Bernard was busy in his own goal area, denying Zambia on two occasions and a minute after the break, Chitiyo had the best chance of the game, his loop beating Banda but Adrian Chama cleared the line with his head.
Mwelwa Mwape later went close for Zambia after 56 minutes but his free kick missed the target by inches in the 58th minute. Chansa met Katongo’s cross to head home before getting he was substituted immediately by coach George Lwandamina.
Katongo almost made it 2-0 but his header off Stephen Kabamba’s cross but it was tamed by Donovan. Chitiyo’s shyness in front of goal persisted before he got replaced by Tatenda Marshal Mudehwe with 10 minutes to play.
With few goal scoring chances, Zambia held onto their lead to top Group D as they await the result between Uganda and Mali.
Zimbabwe Starting XI: Donovan Bernard, Elisha Muroiwa, Ocean Mushure, Lawrence Mhlanga, Hardlife Vzirekwi, John Gerald Takwara, Farai Edwin Madhanaga, Knox Mutizwa, Ronald Chitiyo, Francsisco Zekumbawira, Edmore Chirambadare
Subs: Joel Ngodzo, Rodreck Mutuma, Bruce Kangwa, Stephen Mukatuka, Raphael Manuvire, Nqobizitha Masuku, Tatenda Marshal Mudehwe, Moses Demera, William Manondo, Blessing Sasha Moyo, Elvis Chipezeze
Zambia Starting XI: Jacob Banda, Stephen Kabamba, Buchizya Mfune, Isaac Chansa, Mwelwa Mwape, Christopher Katongo, Adrian Chama, Jackson Chirwa, Clatous Chota, Daut Musekwa, Salutani Phiri
Subs: Solomon Sakala, Christopher Munthali, Donashano Malama, Spencer Sautu, Conlyde Luchanga, Benson Sakala, George Chilufya, Tresford Mulenga, Adamson Mulao, Mwila Phiri, Patson Daka, Rachar Kola