Sunday 17 December 2017

Zambia spot on for first Nations title

ZAMBIA clinched their first African Nations Cup crown with a poignant penalty shoot-out win over Ivory Coast.

Some 19 years after a plane crash which killed 18 members of their squad in Libreville, the Chipolopolo returned to the Gabon capital in style.

A dramatic shoot-out at the end of 120 minutes of largely underwhelming football went their way.

The final proved a tale of penalty woe for Ivory Coast, with Didier Drogba also failing from the spot during the 90 minutes, after Gervinho had provided the Chelsea man with the chance to redeem himself for his penalty shoot-out miss in the 2006 final defeat to Egypt.

But the Chelsea striker sidefooted his spot-kick horribly over the bar.

The Elephants had another chance to win it in normal time, but substitute Max Gradel, having turned his man inside the area, shot inches wide.

Zambia also had a late chance but a stunning tackle from Kolo Toure prevented Emmanuel Mayuka from shooting.

The shoot-out was locked at 7-7 after 14 nerveless penalties before Kolo Toure saw his effort saved by Kennedy Mweene.

Rainford Kalaba fluffed his big moment by shooting over but there was no second reprieve when Gervinho missed and Sunzu slotted home.

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