AUGUSTINE MUKOKA, Jeju, South Korea
DEFENDER Shemmy Mayembe was the unlikely hero when he poked an extra-time winner to secure Zambia a first FIFA Under-20 World Cup quarter-final berth at Jeju World Cup Stadium.
Coach Beston Chambeshi made one change to his starting 11, benching hard-working winger Edward Chilufya who has made all the starting line-ups in a three-man attack system that included the skilful Patson Daka and rip-roaring Fashion Sakala.
Chambeshi’s stronger 4-1-3-2 formation on the day was in response to a German tactical plan that was built around five midfielders. His opposite Guido Streichsbier had other plans. He, too, switched his style by throwing in five defenders in a 5-3-2 system.
The Germans weighted towards defence to contain the sharp combination of Daka and Fashion. Their hope for an early goal did not come, but they still went ahead in the 37th minute with a Philipp Ochs stunner off a set-piece.
Chambeshi’s vibrant side demonstrated the never-die-spirit and came back strong in the second half to lead 3-1 but gave away two last-minute goals to push the match into extra time where Mayembe rose like an eagle in its flight to defuse the German machine. Here is how they rated.
Mangani Banda 7.0/10: It was not the best of days for the agile shot stopper. On a good day, Mangani could have been a lot more alert when German’s Suat Serdar back-healed at near post in the 89th minute to reduce the arrears. No goalkeeper can be faulted for German’s opener. It was a classic that even Mangani had very little to do with.
Shemmy Mayembe 9.2: Match-winner Mayembe has been hard-working on the right. He found himself in the box on not one occasion, and when it mattered the most he was Zambia’s hero with a deft finish that he sliced beyond the German goalkeeper thanks to a Conlyde Luchanga pass.
Prosper Chiluya 6.5: Chiluya won a place back in the team despite a below-par performance against Costa Rica. He was shaky off the ball, and the Germans, through Iyoha, found him wanting on most occasions.
Moses Nyondo 7.5: The Nkana defender stayed calm for most of the match coming in to clean the mess created by the defensive midfield. He had his uneasy moments but should have been happy to have captain Solomon Sakala back in the team. He was present to clear to safety one of the many Boyd Musonda breakdowns and also kept German forward Fabian Reese in good check.
Solomon Sakala 8.0: His presence at the back brought some level of stability, but the captain could have done a lot better to command his backline not to concede two goals in five minutes at a moment when the team was heading for victory. He was overall above board.
Boyd Musonda 5.5: He may be coach Chambeshi’s first choice for the defensive midfield role, but Boyd has been too clumsy for an anchorman. His marking is loose, his passing curmbersome and his shooting often wide and off target.
Musonda Siame 6.0: He won a place in the starting line-up as a way of strengthening the midfield to beat the German’s tactical approach. He was occasionally gifted with attacking opportunities but seemingly run out of ideals when it mattered most. He was duly substituted at half-time for Edward Chilufya, who made an immediate impact.
Emmanuel Banda 8.5: Banda is one hard-working player every coach looks out for in a team. His 50th minute equaliser was what a perfect attacking midfielder is expected to do. He rammed in a loose ball that Enock Mwepu attempted to finish with a bicycle kick to put Zambia back in the game. He was involved in many build-ups. He accounted for his time on the pitch very well.
Patson Daka 8.8: He may not have scored, but Patson was a marvel on the break. His runs put the Germans on their toes. He won set-pieces for the junior Chipolopolo even when he was tightly marked.
Fashion Sakala 9.0: Heavily marked for most parts of the match, Fashion is as deadly as he can get. He scored Zambia’s second goal after unleashing a cracker that beat German goalie Svend Brodersen. He would have loved to stay on but was withdrawn for Luchanga.
Enock “Computer” Mwepu 9.5: Mwepu was roaming the German defence like a hungry lion. He was virtually involved in all of Zambia’s build-ups and goals. His cool finish in the 86th minute after a counter-attack showed his maturity. His presence both in attack and defence guided Zambia to a good finish.
Edward Chilufya 8.0: His introduction brought life to Zambia’s attack. It was his marvellous run on the right that gifted Emmanuel Banda with the equaliser.
Conlyde Luchanga 6.0: He had an opportunity at the end of the match but wasted a Daka pass.
Muchindu Muchindu: Not rated
Beston Chambeshi 9.2: From a 4-1-3-2 to a 5-1-2-2 in extra time, Beston Chambeshi made history to become the first Zambian coach to secure a first World Cup quarter-final berth.
He mastered the German game, but should have done better to maintain the 3-1 lead by doing what he did in extra time.
His reaction would have been damaging had Mayembe not redeemed the team in extra time.