Zambia came from behind to defeat Botswana 2-1 in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Thursday evening.
The win moved Chipolopolo up to third spot in Group H, while the Zebras of Botswana slipped down to fourth spot on the standings.
Chipolopolo dominated the match from the start with Justin Shonga keeping the Zebras defence busy with his good movement in the visitors’ half. However, the Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila striker was wasteful in front of goal, while Ghampani Lungu also missed a good chance early on.
Zambia were left to rue their missed chances when the visitors broke the deadlock on the cusp of halftime. Tumisang Orebonye scored with a header in the 45th minute to make it 1-0 to Botswana with the home side’s defence caught ball watching.
However, the Zebras went to sleep at the back at the other end and they were duly punished by RB Salzburg midfielder Enock Mwepu in first-half stoppage time. The 22-year-old player tapped the ball home from inside the box to make it 1-1 heading into the interval.
Chipolopolo launched multiple attacks after the restart with coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic having introduced Klings Kangwa as the hosts looked to take the lead for the first time.
The home side did grab the goal they had been looking for and it was Collins Sikombe who fired the 2012 African champions into the driving seat. The Lusaka Dynamos centre forward beat Botswana goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe to make it 2-1 to Zambia six minutes after the hour-mark.
The visitors responded by introducing former Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Mogakolodi Ngele as they looked to snatch a late equaliser.
However, Zambia stood firm at the back in the closing stages of the match and ultimately they emerged 2-1 winners over Botswana.
The two teams will meet in the reverse fixture on Tuesday, 17 November.