20 May 2018 08:13
Holders Zambia are through to the final qualifying round after they were held to a 1-1 home draw on Saturday afternoon by Rwanda at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
The 2017 winners advance 3-1 on aggregate following a 2-0 away win in Kigali last week.
Zambia could have wrapped up the match in the opening quarter of the first half but Zesco United forward Lameck Banda wasted two great chances in the sixth and tenth minutes.
Striker Francesco Mwepu too had only Rwanda goalie Fiacre Ntwari to beat in the 14th minute but the shot-stopper saved in a one-on-one situation.
Rwanda grew in confidence thereafter and almost took the lead in the 25th minute through Gilbert Nshimyumuremyi who saw his superb long-range volley come off the right angle of the post.
Zambia continued to probe for openings but poor finishing by Banda in the 35th and Mwepu five minutes later were frustrating themes of homers first half display.
The deadlock was broken in the 52nd minute through England-based forward Mwiya Malumo who fired in the opening goal from an acute angle to finally breach Ntwari.
The visitors, though, refused to die and Gueulette Marie equalized in the 69th minute with a superb scissors kick off a Christian Ishimwe cross.
Few minutes later, Lague Byiringiro gave Zambia a scare but his header from close-range went wide before the host wasted a valuable chance to put the contest to bed when Ntwari saved a Mwepu penalty to ensure the game ended on an event note.
The steam was sucked out of Rwanda in stoppage time when Prince Buregeya was sent-off to bring to an end the 2009 hosts interest in the race to Niger.
Zambia now awaits Burundi or Sudan, who play on Sunday for a place at the final tournament scheduled for 2-17 February in Niger.
Friday, 18 May 2018
Cameroon vs Uganda (0-1)
Saturday, 19 May 2018
Guinea vs Mauritania (0-1)
Cote d’Ivoire vs Gabon (0-3)
Zambia 1-1 Rwanda (2-0)
Egypt vs Senegal (0-0)
Sunday, 20 May 2018
Ghana vs Algeria (0-0)
Nigeria vs Guinea Bissau (2-2)
Benin vs Gambia (1-2)
Libya vs Burkina Faso (1-3)
Sudan vs Burundi (1-1)
Mali vs Tanzania (2-1)
South Africa vs Mozambique (1-1)
Angola vs Malawi (2-1)
Congo vs Botswana (1-1)