Reigning African champions Zambia and Ethiopia served up an entertaining game that finished 1-1. It had everything a fan would wish for as the group C got underway in Nelspruit. A missed penalty, player protest, petulant fans, defensive blunders, bad fouls, a red card on a stretcher , dribbling defenders and goals, the match had it all , the game had it all.
Collins Mbesuma put the Zambians in front on the stroke of half time when latched on to a header into the gap by Isaac Chansa. The big striker reacted quickest and managed to beat the keeper.
Reigning Africa champions Zambia were matched man for man by an enterprising and competitive Ethiopia side as Chipolopolo begun their title defence . From the last fifteen minutes of the first half and the entire second Ethiopia played with ten men after the first expulsion of AFCON 2013. Goalkeeper Jemal Tesew was red carded for taking out defender Lungu Chisamba after he broke through on goal. Rushing out of his goal Tesew's challenge with both legs high up and dug into Chisamba's midriff leaving the two players lying injured.
Tesew was shown the red card while being carried out on the stretcher but up until then Ethiopia had match Zambia man for man and could have taken the lead in the 24th minute after being awarded a penalty. A clumsy challenge by Chisamba on Saladin Said led to the sport kick but Said's effort was well saved by ever alert Kennedy Mweene in goal for the champions.
After a cage start littered with some comical defending the game kicked into life with Zambia shading the exchanges and pressing the opponents.
The Walya Antelopes were full of running and impressed with their hard work on and off the ball and grew in confidence in the second half once they accepted their first choice goalkeeper's fate. Their determination paid dividends when captain Adane Girma eqiualised in the 65th minute after some good work from substitute, Addis Hinsta who found Said who in turn played in Girma and the striker shot past Mweene to send the colourful Ethiopian crowd into joyous ruptures
The goal galvanized ten men Ethiopia and an open game with action from one end to the other ensued. Zambia seemed shell shocked to be pegged back and when captain and usually reliable goal scorer Chris Katongo was substituted it looked like it would not be maximum points for Zambia.
The chances at both ends did not produce further goals and it ended up a match of two halves where Zambia bossed the first and ten men Ethiopia were in ascendancy in the second