ZAMBIA shocked Ghana 1-0 to claim a place in the final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, with Emmanuel Mayuka scoring a late winner in the teams’ semifinal in Bata.
Zambia started the match at a high tempo but Ghana earned an early penalty kick. In the seventh minute, Kwadwo Asamoah attempted to latch on to a pass inside the box but was caught by a late challenge from South African-based defender, Davies Nkasau. A penalty was awarded but Asamoah Gyan was unable to convert, with Kennedy Mweene making a fine save.
Derek Boateng was orchestrating the game for Ghana throughout the first half. The Dnipro man sprayed play nicely down the flanks for Jordan and Andre Ayew, but with 20 minutes gone not too many clear cut chances had been created, aside from the missed penalty earlier on.
James Chamanga, who made his first start of the tournament, looked fairly isolated up-front, hence not much scoring opportunities were created by Zambia inside the first 30 minutes.
In the 31st minute, Andre Ayew clipped a free kick to the back post for Jordan Ayew, who hit a fresh air shot despite being completely unmarked. Minutes later Kwadwo Asamoah turned the ball onto his left foot on the edge of the area and attempted to curl a shot into the bottom corner only for his effort to go a whisker by the post.
Zambia come out after half time with a spring in their step and look to have added intensity in their play. But not much changed as Ghana continued to attack Zambia, with Jordan Ayew driving down the left wing and cutting inside before lashing a shot at goal from the edge of the box, but Mweene got his body behind the ball to make a comfortable save.
The Ayew brothers looked very busy on the night, as on the opposite flank, Andre Ayew picked the pocket of Rainford Kalaba and went on a twisting run into the box but ultimately found himself crowded out.
In a rare Zambia attack, completely against the run of play, substitute Emmanuel Mayuka found space just outside the area and on the turn curled a shot off the right-hand post and in to make it 1-0 in the 78th minute.
The remainder of the time was left for Ghana to chase the game as they went in search of the equaliser, though Derek Boateng’s sending off for a second bookable offence did them no favours. Zambia held out for a 1-0 win.-Cafonline.com