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cong zam

Day 2 of the Africa Cup of Nations and a switch to Ebebiyin for the days group B fixtures. First up Zambia taking on DR Congo in front of an eventual full-house, delays for fans entering the stadium caused by an ebola screening process. Many will not have reached their seats to see the opening goal of the game, coming after only 62 seconds, Given Singuluma striking home from 20 yards. The build up had been shambolic to say the least, Congolese goal-keeper Robert Kidiaba punching weakly from a cross into thoe box, only as far as Chisamba Lungu on the edge of the box, who had all the time in the world to lay off to Given Singulumu who struck home. Keeper Kidiaba was quite rightly incensed with his flat-footed defence, terribly guilty of both ball-watching and being caught cold.

After witnessing what will possibly be the quickest goal of the tournament, there was further dismay for the Congolese only five minutes later, when what will surely be one of the misses of the tournament was witnessed. Dieumerci Mbokani firing over the bar from ten yards, sparing the blushes of some terrible goal-keeping by Zambian Kennedy Mweene. DR Congo continued to make chances and played the better football for the remainder of the half. Crystal Palace man Yannick Bolasie in particular stood out for the Leopards, bringing out some good saves from Mweene, the best  chance of the half coming from a curling free-kick effort, deflected past the post shortly before the half-time whistle.

Bolasie continued his good form into the second half, constantly causing the Zambian defence problems, Mweene again pulling off some great saves. But when the equaliser came, there was an air of inevitability to it, Cedrick Mabwati dispossessing Emmanuel Mbola and breaking at speed before turning the ball back for Bolaise, once again in the right place at the right time, to rifle home from just inside the 18 yard box. Further chances were to follow, Mbokani this time forcing a good save from Mweene, a spectacular over and head effort coming after some very hesitant defending from Zambian pair David Nkause and Kondwani Mtonga. And that is the way it stayed, honours even at 1-1, a game the Congolese Leopards will feel they could and should have won, captain Mulumba admitting afterwards that they had shown fear at the start of the game, costing them the early goal. Zambian coach Honour Janza reflected the importance of not losing the opening game but the Chipolopolo will not to perform a lot better, particularly in defence to get anything out of their next game against Tunisia in four days time.