ZAMBIA last night defied all odds to beat Sudan 1-0 on a bumpy, dusty and rough Karima Stadium in a second round first leg Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier in Khartoum.
In-form striker Winston Kalengo’s only goal in the 28th minute was enough to put Zambia in a comfortable zone ahead of the second leg slated for this Sunday at Ndola’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
Zambia kicked off the first minutes of the game on a jittery note, failing to control the ball on the bumpy pitch.
Skipper Rainford Kalaba put up a disappointing performance, leading to his substitution in the 83rd minute for Spencer Sautu.
Sudan had earlier dominated the first 15 minutes and came close to opening the score in the eighth minute with a wide shot on target.
Sudan produced another scare in the 17th minute but the bumpy stadium worked to their disadvantage as the ball bounced over the net.
The Chipolopolo upped their game, with Lubambo Musonda supplying the ball to Kalengo from the right wing.
Kalengo’s close-range shot inside the box after benefitting from Musonda’s pass in the 28th minute put Zambia in the lead.
The Chipolopolo continued to search for a goal but Sudanese defenders were equal to the task, ensuring the first half ended on a 1-0 scoreline.
Sudan started the second half in full force and almost scored in 49th minute but towering defender Stopilla Sunzu cleared the lines with a long shot.
Coach George ‘Chicken’ Lwandamina introduced defender Donashano Malama for a tired Chongo Kabaso in the 55th minute.
Zambia changed their ball game and introduced a defensive play as Sudan literally camped in Chipolopolo’s half.
Kalengo could have added the second goal in the 88th minute, but his long range shot from outside the box went wide.
Sudan dominated the last minutes of the match but Zambia’s defence was equal to the task to ensure their important lead on foreign soil was not snatched away by a dying minute Sudanese goal.