LIBYA 1 ZAMBIA 0
ZAMBIA’S passage to the 2012 Equatorial Guinea/Gabon Africa Cup of Nations finals last night suffered a setback after losing to Libya at the 11 June Stadium in Tripoli.
After missing several scoring chances, including two sure goals in the opening minutes of the game, Zambia fell in the 35th minute to a Ahmad Saad goal.
Marwan Mabrok broke through on the left flank and found the unmarked Saad who fired a low shot in the right corner of the net.
While officiating was suspect, goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene should take the blame for allowing the Libyans to score.
Mweene dived too late to stop a seemingly easy shot that rolled in his net, much to the delight of the half-full stadium.
With the win, Libya assume command of Group C with four points, Zambia and Mozambique have three points apiece.
Mozambique nudged group outsiders Comoros Islands 1-0 in Moroni on Saturday.
Zambia began the game confidently and had the hosts backtracking with inroads from Switzerland-based winger Fwayo Tembo, who started on the left wing and Jonas Sakuwaha, who attacked the Libyans from the right side of the midfield.
So promising was the start that Zambia struck the net twice in succession through Jonas Sakuwaha and Rainford Kalaba – but from offside positions.
Midfielder Kalaba, now based in the Democratic Republic of Congo with TP Mazembe, and struggling with fitness, had the best chance of the game in the eighth minute but he pushed the ball too much for goalkeeper Sabir Aboud to collect.
Noah Chivuta, who anchored the midfield, had his shot ricocheting off the post in one of Zambia’s several adventures in the first half in which the Chipolopolo should have wrapped up the game even in the face of biased refereeing.
After the break, Isaac Chansa replaced Tembo and the Chipolopolo pushed forward to get an equaliser.
With time ticking and Libya gaining confidence, Zambia coach Dario Bonetti introduced Emmanuel Mayuka for Sakuwaha on 60 minutes.
Mayuka combined well with Jacob Mulenga and James Chamanga but were blunt in front of goal.
After the match the Libyans celebrated as if they had qualified for the World Cup.