First semis in 16 years as Zambia down 10-man Sudan

By Piers EdwardsBBC Sport
Zambia striker james Chamanga
Zambia striker James Chamanga celebrates after scoring his side's third goal against Sudan in the quarter-finals in Bata

Zambia became the first team to book their place in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals when beating a disappointing Sudan 3-0 in Bata.

Stoppila Sunzu opened the scoring early on when heading home a free-kick.

The game turned in the Zambians' favour shortly after the hour when Saif Eldin was sent off for fouling Rainford Kalaba in the box.

Chris Katongo converted the resulting spot-kick at the second attempt before James Chamanga wrapped up the win.

The Chipolopolo, who have reached the last four for the first time since 1996, will stay in Bata ahead of next week's semi-final clash against the winner of Sunday's quarter-final between Ghana and Tunisia.

The first of this year's Nations Cup quarter-finals was preceded by a minute's silence in honour of the 74 Egyptian football fans who died in Port Said this week.

Shortly afterwards, the Sudanese were contesting the first quarter-finals in their history, with the Jediane Falcons have gone straight to the semi-finals when last reaching the knock-out stage way back in 1970.

The second lowest-ranked side in the competition, the East Africans' hopes of causing an upset took a swift blow when Sunzu converted Rainford Kalaba's expert delivery inside the six-yard box after 15 minutes.

Moments later, the Sudanese enjoyed one of their better openings but Mohamed Ahmed Bashir drove his volley straight at Zambian goakeeper Kennedy Mweene.

After 34 minutes, the southern Africans might have doubled their lead only for Sudanese stopper Akram to tip Chisamba Lungu's clever strike with the outside of his right foot around the post.

Players from both Zambia and Sudan hold a minute's silence before the match in memory of the Egyptian fans who died this week
Players hold a minute's silence before the match in memory of the Egyptian fans who died this week

Already facing an uphill battle, Sudan coach Mohamed Abdallah's hands were further tied when he was forced to make two first-half changes, as Amer and Ramadan replaced injured midfielders Ala Eldin and Nazar.

Although the Sudanese briefly threatened through Mudather Eltaib, the goalscoring hero in the historic 2-1 win over Burkina Faso, their dreams were ended in the 64th minute.

Eldin was sent off for a clear yet clumsy tackle on the marauding Kalaba, allowing Zambia captain Katongo to give his side a two-goal cushion from the penalty spot - even if Akram did impressively beat out his first effort.

Yet the goalkeeper was lucky to stay on the pitch when he inexplicably raised his foot to leave it in Katongo's midriff as the Zambian charged through on goal shortly afterwards.

With Zambia coach Herve Renard wearing his 'lucky white shirt' once again, victory for the Frenchman was assured when substitute Chamanga curled home a beauty to seal the win.

Quarter-finalists in Angola two years ago, the southern Africans are on course to fulfil their pre-tournament ambition of honouring those members of the national team who died off the coast of Gabon in 1993.

Zambian football's worst disaster came after a plane transporting the squad to a qualifier in Senegal came down off the Gabonese coast - an incident which has given the current team added incentive this year.