ZAMBIA STUNNED GHANA 1-0 in Bata to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations final, setting up an emotional return to Libreville on Sunday.
Thirty people, including 18 players, were killed in 1993 when an aircraft carrying the Zambian national team to a World Cup qualifier in Senegal crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Gabonese capital.
This weekend, the Chipolopolo will have a chance to honour that memory and write a much happier chapter of history thanks to substitute Emmanuel Mayuka, who clinched the game with a goal 12 minutes from time.
The striker, who plays his club football with Young Boys in Switzerland, scored with a superb strike on the turn to set up Sunday’s decider against Ivory Coast, who beat Mali 1-0 in the evening’s second semi-final.
Ghana had a glorious chance to take the lead just eight minutes into the game when Davies Nkausu fouled Kwadwo Asamoah inside the box. Asamoah Gyan, currently on loan from Sunderland at Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, stepped up to the spot kick only to see his tame effort pushed away by Kennedy Mweene.
Ghana continued to dominate possession, but were left reeling by Mayuka’s strike and the dismissal of Derke Boateng for a second yellow card in the 83rd minute.
The evening’s second semi-final in Libreville was also settled by a single goal as Gervinho ensured that Ivory Coast return to the final for only the second time since their 1992 Cup of Nations win in Senegal.
In a moment of brilliance on the stroke of half-time, the Arsenal striker picked the pocket of Ousmane Berthe on the halfway line and sprinted free down the left wing before cutting back inside and finishing across goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite into the far corner.
Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure both saw efforts denied off the woodwork, but one goal was enough as the Elephants’ defence recorded its fifth successive clean sheet at the tournament to see them through to Sunday’s final.
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