Zambia 1 Nigeria 1: Defending champions hold Nigeria to a draw thanks to keeper who SCORES a penalty at the death!
17:57 GMT, 25 January 2013
18:14 GMT, 25 January 2013
Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene once again proved decisive on penalties Friday as the defending champions held Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mweene first saw Nigeria's John Mikel Obi send a spot kick on to the outside of the post in the first half after diving the right way, and then scored one himself at the other end to equalise in the 85th minute.
Hero: Goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene (pictured) of Zambia scores a penalty – he also saved one in the first half
Jubilant: Team-mates rush to surround him after earning his nation a point
Mweene's penalty-saving prowess was one of the keys during Zambia's winning campaign in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year and Mikel seemed to be wary of the goalkeeper's skills as his missed kick was weak.
Zambia have now given away penalties
in their last four Nations Cup finals matches and, in an incredible run
of fortune, seen their opponents fail to score on each occasion.
Emmanuel Emenike then put Nigeria ahead with a smooth finish in the 57th minute but Mweene stepped up to the spot himself to level with five minutes remaining.
Vital: Mweene saw Chelsea's John Obi Mikel hit his penalty off the outside of the post
The 1-1 draw at the Mbombela Stadium between the two heavyweights in Group C leaves both teams perilously placed without a win but still with a chance to grab a quarter-final place early next week.
'I'm happy with the result because of the circumstances,' said Zambia coach Herve Renard
'Never forget we had Nigeria ahead of us. We are still alive and we are still in a good way to qualify.'
Mweene slotted home after Emmanuel Mayuka had been tugged down on the edge of the Nigerian area by Ogenyi Onanzi in what looked a harsh decision from Egyptian referee Grisha Ghead.
Battle: Nigeria's Victor Moses (right) fights for the ball with Zambia's Joseph Musonda
The champions had the better of the first half exchanges as they pinned back Nigeria, who had Victor Moses in the line-up after injury, but laboured in the second period.
Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi said: 'I have no choice but to be happy but my goal was to get three points. Zambia were never going to be easy to play against.'
Trumpets: Nigerian fans try to lift their team