Super-sub Avell Chitundu scored a dramatic injury-time winner as Zambia claimed a deserved 1-0 victory over Tunisia that had looked as though it would elude them in their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash in Casablanca on Wednesday.
Chitundu turned the ball into the net from six yards after captain Grace Chanda bravely headed the ball into her path as Zambia snatched a victory that they should have claimed much earlier.
It puts Shepolopolo in a strong position to qualify for the quarterfinals with four points from their two games to date, and with pool minnows Togo to come, they could yet top the group.
Tunisia thumped Togo 4-1 in their opening match but could not need a draw in their final game against Cameroon to advance to the next stage. The top two teams in each pool qualify for the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-place finishes.
Zambia started the brighter and talisman Chanda saw an early shot saved by Tunisia goalkeeper Jabrani Soulaima, but they had a great opportunity to take the lead when Xiomara Mapepa was fouled in the box. Lubandji Ochumba spurned that chance though as she missed from 12 yards.
Zambia continued to look the most likely in the second period and though they had the lead midway through when Mapepa fired in a 30-yard free-kick on 67 minutes.
The ball looped over Soulaima, but Avell Chitundu was adjudged by the Video Assistant Referee to have been offside.
It was likely the right call but that will be no consolation to Zambia, who had celebrated the goal wildly.
Zambia continued to create chance after chance and were finally rewarded with Chitundu’s late winner, just as it looked as though they would be frustrated on the night.
Chanda still had a chance to win it after that as she rounded Soulaima, but fired wide with the open net gaping.