From Bennie Mundando, in Limbe, Cameroun
ZAMBIA yesterday picked a vital point away to Cameroon in the Russia 2018 World Cup in an ill-tempered game punctuated with poor officiating. The game, which was played at the 20,000 seater Limbe Omnisport stadium, saw Zambia defending the draw in most part of the game until the very end of the six minutes added time much to the annoyance of Zambian fans who had travelled to Cameroun to cheer the team. Both teams started the game on a cautious note but Cameroon settled quickly forcing Kennedy Mweene into a brilliant save as early as the sixth minute as Clinton Njie raced with the ball on the edge of the box before releasing a thunderbolt which Mweene parried before it was cleared away. Ten minutes later, Benjamin Moukadjo launched another attack on the left wing after rounding off Kabaso Chongo who was found off-guard most of the first half and allowed his marker acres of space to exploit the Chipolopolo defence but Njie again failed to utilize the chance as he ballooned the ball over the bar. Cameroon should have found the back of the net two minutes later when the Indomitable Lions again attacked using the left wing with Njie again outsmarting the outstretched Chongo but should be cursing himself for failing to find the back of the net with only Mweene to beat while Stophilla Sunzu and Ziyo Tembo were caught ball-watching. Sensing the threat the Cameroonians were posing, Zambia retreated into their own half allowing the hosts to come at them purposefully but lack of precision in front of the goal left the shoreline identical as the clock wound by. With 24 minutes played,
Collins Mbesuma missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Rainford Kalaba released Chisamba Lungu on the left wing who blitzed his way through a forest of defenders before laying the ball to Mbesuma, only for the burly strike to fluff the ball off-target. However, Mbesuma atoned for his sins two minutes later when benefited from a Lungu pass after Kalaba’s tee on the left wing to slot home the opener. Evans Kangwa then suffered an injury and was substituted for Simon Silwimba and Cameroon leveled the shoreline when they were awarded a penalty after Ziyo Tembo was judged to have hacked Moukadjo which Vincent Abubakar scored with ease after sending Mweene the wrong way. Cameroon came into the second half more purposeful and continued searching for a winner but Zambia had the real chance of taking the lead 10 minutes after the restart through Rodgers Kola after coming in for Mbesuma whose shot was smartly saved by Ndy Assembe from close range after Kalaba’s initial shot was blocked by the hosts. Cameroon continued creating an avalanche of chances as the game almost became a one-sided affair in most parts of the game but were wasteful in front of goal. Mweene made a brilliant save to keep Zambia in the game with only three minutes remaining when he turned over Abubakar’s shot before making another smart save from Moukadjo at the stroke of full-time.