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Sudone! Chipolopolo reach World Cup group stage

CHISHALA MUSONDA, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola
ZAMBIA 2 (3) SUDAN 0 (0)
RED-HOT striker Winston Kalengo yesterday lit up the stadium with a stunning goal while midfielder Lubambo Musonda got his name to the scoresheet for the first time in a competitive match to blast Sudan and guide Zambia into the group stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The striker won possession near the centre and bludgeoned through a cluster of legs before wrong-footing the last defender and deftly picking his spot with a left-foot strike.
The goal killed off Sudan’s fightback and effectively gave Zambia an aggregate 3-0 victory to expressly enter the group stages of the qualifiers for a spot in the Russia finals.
The Armenia-based Musonda had done enough to win himself praises from fans who included President Lungu and the goal just iced the cake just before a drizzle, 13 minutes into the second half.
“We love Zambia and we wish them to go further in this competition,” Sudan coach Amdan Hamad graciously said in a post-match conference.
Magnanimous in victory, Zambia coach George Lwandamina said: “It was a very difficult game, as you know, we had a slender lead. They came on us to try and get a goal as quickly as possible but the boys resisted. We allowed them to play and they opened up at the back and allowed us to score the two goals.”
Lwandamina, who made two changes to the starting 11 that played last Wednesday, brought in Evans Kangwa for a bed-ridden Rainford Kalaba and Benedict Chepeshi started ahead of Kabaso Chongo, employed a 4-3-3 formation against the visitors who jammed-parked the defence.
After a so-so start, Zambia exploded into life through Musonda, who combined well with Kangwa before the six-man Sudanese rear-guard thwarted the move in the ninth minute.
Earlier in the third minute, Collins Mbesuma had blasted the ball over the bar from a free-kick after the burly striker was brought down on the edge of the box.
Zambia continued to search for a breakthrough, knitting passes from the back and in the 16th minute, Kalengo headed high a Chepeshi cross and two minutes later, Kangwa vainly ran into Mbesuma’s dipping pass in the box.
While Zambia pushed forward, the Sudanese reacted sharply on counter-attacks which saw right back Atahir Eltahir Babikir unleash a fierce shot but way off to threaten Zambia goalie Kennedy Mweene.
In the 30th minute, Musonda burst forward but fired straight at Sudan goalkeeper Akram El Hadi Salim before Kalengo’s header was stopped by the goalkeeper after meeting a speculative Stopilla Sunzu ball in the 32nd minute.
Zambia were more purposeful after the break, which paid off when Musonda arrowed a rebound after an initial Kalengo header was parried in the path of the diminutive boy following a Mabesuma corner.
The 58th minute goal sent the crowd wild and it was worse on 80 minutes when Kalengo ploughed his way for about 30 metres and rifled home a left-footer into the top corner of the net to guarantee Zambia one of the 20 places in the group stage.
The qualifiers start next October and winners of the five groups will qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

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