Mweene penalty saves Zambia
Save of the match: Vincent Enyeama denied Rainford Kalaba an equaliser midway through the second half as the stand-in captain ensured that his charges picked up the maximum points.
Eish!: John Obi Mikel missed a penalty in the first half. The side’s star player is yet to shine in the tournament.
Player to watch: Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike is getting better with each game as he proves how lethal he can be in front of goal. Both of Nigeria’s goals in the competition came from his deadly foot.
A late penalty saved defending champions Zambia from humiliation as they drew 1-1 with Nigeria in their Group C 2013 Africa Cup of Nations clash at Mbombela Stadium.
Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene converted from the spot kick in the 84th minute tonight after Ogenyi Onazi fouled Emmanuel Mayuka inside the penalty area for their second successive point of the tournament.
A loss would have seen Chipolopolo on the verge of first-round elimination with their progress through to the next stage depending on other teams in the group.
The Super Eagles’ lead came courtesy of Emmanuel Emenike after 57 minutes having been supplied by John Obi Mikel.
The under-fire Nigerians had made four changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso midweek, including starts for Chelsea forward Victor Moses and Lazio midfielder Eddy Onazi.
Their coach, Stephen Keshi, dropped captain Joseph Yobo from his line-up while centre-back Efe Ambrose served his suspension.
However, Nigeria were rarely a threat in the first half with their only meaningful opportunity being Mikel’s fluffed penalty midway through after defender Davies Nkausu fouled Ahmed Musa inside the box.
Zambia surged forward moments later with a Lungu Chisamba free-kick drawing a save from stand-in captain Vincent Enyeama.
The game got livelier in the second half as Nigeria gained momentum but Enyeama came to the rescue on the hour mark to deny Rainford Kalaba after he easily sliced through the West African outfit’s defence.
Substitute Collins Mbesuma also fluffed his shot in the dying moments as the Zambians also settled for a successive draw having being held 1-1 by Ethiopia on Monday.
They play Burkina Faso on Tuesday, where they will be searching for a much-needed victory, while Nigeria face Ethiopia in a corresponding fixture.