COSAFA Cup: Emerging Stars stun defending champions Zambia in Group B opener

COSAFA Cup: Emerging Stars stun defending champions Zambia in Group B opener

Festus Chuma 21:00 - 27.06.2024

Emerging Stars faced Zambia in the COSAFA Cup opener dominating with effective counter-attacks and robust defense at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Emerging Stars stunned COSAFA Cup defending champions Zambia 2-0 in a Group B opener played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The win saw Kenya on top of the standings on goal difference after Zimbabwe beat Comoros 1-0 in the other match played earlier in the day.

Zambia looked dangerous from the start with Sadam Phiri looking lively as he used his speed and dribbling skills to cut open the Emerging Stars defence.

Kenya were awarded a penalty after Patrick Otieno was fouled in the Chipolopolo box and Austin Odhiambo scored from a spot-kick - beating goalkeeper Charles Kalumba to make it 1-0 to Emerging Stars in the eighth minute.

The East Africans doubled their lead in the 18th minute as Posta Rangers dangerman Patrick Otieno powered home Benson Omala's cross to make it 2-0.

Zambia dominated ball possession after conceding their second goal and nearly capitalized on their pressure at the hour mark, but Fredrick Mulambi failed to beat goalkeeper Bryne Omondi.

Chipolopolo continued to chip away in an attempt to get their first goal but struggled to breach the stubborn Stars' defense for the remainder of the first half.

Zambia managed to get the second-half off on the front foot and put Emerging Stars on the back foot from the get-go.

With the hour mark approaching, Chisi Mbewe turned to his bench for some reinforcements going forward, as Abraham Siankombo was called into action.

The defending champions found the going tough despite having prolonged spells on the ball during the second half.

With their lead intact, Kenya often soaked up the pressure and looked to play on the counter-attack.

Stars began turning the screws after the 75th minute and began rotating the ball with much efficiency.

Then it was Chipolopolo who started to look more dangerous, with Ricky Banda sending a powerful shot that was punched back into play by Bryne Omondi before it was cleared by the defense.

Ken Odhiambo’s charges dictated play as the game reached its concluding phase in looking to protect their two goals advantage.

How they lined-up:

Emerging Stars: Byrne Omondi, Amos Wanjala, Sylvester Owino, Alphonce Omija, Geoffrey Onyango, Chrispine Erambo, John Ochieng, Austine Odhiambo, Ronney Onyango, Patrick Otieno, Benson Omalla