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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

AFCON Qualifying: Zambia ease past Lesotho to maintain strong position in Group H

Patson Daka scored twice on assists from Fashion Sakala to give Zambia a 2-0 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory over Lesotho at the Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday. The Chipolopolo move to the top of Group H with the victory and put themselves in a strong position to join hosts Ivory Coast in qualifying for the AFCON finals out of the group. Zambia now have nine points from four matches, leaving them six points clear of Comoros and two ahead of Ivory Coast before the two teams meet on Monday.

Lesotho proved their defensive mettle by holding Ivory Coast to a scoreless draw last June but their approach was not enough to stifle a potent Zambian attack. The Chipolopolo dominated possession and an incisive attacking movement gave the visitors the goal they desired in the 14th minute. A lofted pass from Emmanuel Banda found Sakala on the left side of the penalty area and the Rangers FC forward found Daka with a diving header which the Leicester City marksman controlled before poking a finish past goalkeeper Sekhoane Moerane with the outside of his right foot.

The hosts showed more ambition after conceding and began to threaten the Zambian goal after halftime, but Chipolopolo goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata was at his best and dove to keep out a dangerous free kick early in the second half. Sakala and Daka combined to put Zambia beyond reach in the 69th minute when Sakala’s hard work on the right flank led to a low cross that Daka finished with ease. Zambia now only need a draw in one of their final two fixtures with the first coming against Ivory Coast in June before the Chipolopolo finish up with a test away from home in Comoros.

Highlights of Sunday’s match are below.