Zambia keeper scores from penalty to salvage draw
- Published: 26/01/2013 at 12:45 AM
- Online news:
Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, a noted penalty saving and taking specialist, scored from the spot to salvage a 1-1 draw against Nigeria here on Friday.
Zambia's goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene (R) celebrates after scoring a penalty on January 25, 2013 during an Africa Cup of Nations 2013 group A football match against Nigeria at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit. Mweene, a noted penalty saving and taking specialist, scored from the spot to salvage a 1-1 draw against Nigeria here on Friday.
Mweene's late heroics in this Africa Cup of Nations Group C clash cancelled out Emmanuel Emenike's goal with Nigeria's John Obi Mikel failing to convert a first-half penalty.
The stalemate left defending champions Zambia and Nigeria tied at the top of the mini-league, with Burkina Faso and Ethiopia playing later.
"The coach likes to ask who wants to take penalties before the match -- Chris (Katongo) and I said 'yes', but Chris went out so I was the only one left.
"It's a long way to walk from one goal to the other knowing you have to score to equalise. It was difficult, but I kept my cool."
Zambia coach Herve Renard added: "I thought we played a very good match today. We made an enormous error in conceding the goal, but found the resources to come back."
Nigeria goalkeeper and captain Victor Enyeama was upset about the penalty awarded against his team: "That was one of the worst calls I've seen in the history of football.
"It doesn't belong to football, you shouldn't see such a call in a game of this magnitude."
Coach Stephen Keshi backed Enyeama: "I agree with my captain, but I don't want to speak to much about the referee. People should judge it for themselves, but I'm not sure if it was a penalty.
"In a big game like this a penalty should be clear, but we've got to move on and do what we need to do in our next game.
"My aim was to get three points here but I'm happy enough with a draw against the champions Zambia, who have been together for four years now."
For the Zambians, this clash on the threadbare Mbombela Stadium pitch represented the chance to avenge defeats to Nigeria in Angola in 2010 and in the 1994 final, the last of Nigeria's two titles.
Herve Renard's men started ambitiously, but Nigeria's defence held firm as the title-holders struggled to capitalise on all their possession.
On 25 minutes, Zambia had a lucky escape when defender Davies Nkausu felled Ahmed Musa in the box, with Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead pointing to the spot.
John Obi Mikel stepped up, but his far-from-vintage low effort went the wrong side of Mweene's right post.
Zambia ended the first half as they'd begun it, on the attack, yet unable to land a sucker punch.
A more assured Nigeria emerged after the restart, and deservedly took a 57th-minute lead when Emenike raced on to Mikel's neat through pass and controlled the ball well before shooting low into the left hand corner.
The Spartak Moscow striker was doubling his tally in South Africa, having scored in Nigeria's first game.
That sparked Renard to alter his line-up, Collins Mbesuma and Mukuka Mulenga coming on for captain Christopher Katongo and Chisamba Lungu. Soon after, Isaac Chansa came off for Jonas Sakuwaha as Renard strengthened his attack.
Mweene then saved Zambia's day.
The 'keeper, who regularly takes penalties for South Africa Premier League club Free State Stars and converted his effort in last year's Nations Cup final shoot-out, coolly stepped up to slot home a spot kick awarded harshly when Ogenyi Onazi tangled with Emmanuel Mayuka in the box.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency