African Cup of Nations - Zambia top group after Katongo winner

Sun, 29 Jan 18:59:00 2012

Christopher Katongo's solo effort earned Zambia a 1-0 win over hosts Equatorial Guinea and saw Zambia top African Cup of Nations Group A.

2012 African Cup of Nations Zambia - 0

Chances were at a premium throughout this match, from which Zambia needed just a point to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The game was crying out for a moment of quality, and it got it in the 67th minute when Katongo cut in from the left and drove his shot inside the near post.

The win means Zambia top Group A while Equatorial Guinea progress - but are likely to face tournament favourites Ivory Coast in the last eight.

The dramatic late winner against Senegal that saw Equatorial Guinea go into this game top of the group with a 100 per cent record meant that expectation was sky-high at a vibrant and noisy Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.

But they struggled to hit the same heights in this match and, following a host of half chances, Zambia should have taken the lead when Rainford Kalaba's driving run from midfield opened up Equatorial Guinea's defence.

But his decision to delay his pass to Katongo saw the move lose momentum, and the chance was spurned.

The hosts almost made them pay for that miss with a sweeping move forward just before half-time.

Zambia failed to clear their lines and the lively Juvenal slipped in Ivan Bolado with a precise through-ball, but Kennedy Mweene was swift off his line to smother the striker's effort.

But that was as close as Equatorial Guinea came as they lost their impetus in a second half that lacked momentum.

With chances few and far between, the game's much needed moment of inspiration came courtesy of Katongo, who rode two challenges before firing inside the bottom corner.

Despite the best efforts of Juvenal and Javier Balboa, Equatorial Guinea's subsequent attacks lacked conviction and Zambia escaped Malabo with a vital win that will see them face Ivory Coast, Angola or Sudan in the quarter-finals.

Michael Da Silva - on Twitter @mjdasilva / Eurosport

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