Ethiopia stun Zambia to reach semi-finals

December 8th, 2010 | by addis portal |

By MUTWIRI MUTUOTA

Ethiopia stunned guests and favourites Zambia 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of this year’s Cecafa Tusker Cup after a mouth-watering match here, yesterday.

The Walya Antelopes scored their goals through Tesfaye Alebachew in the 18th and Omod Okwury in the 21st minutes, while Felix Sunzu pulled one back for Chipolopolo in the 58th minute.

It was a big achievement for Ethiopia who are 131 in the Fifa rankings and yet Zambia are 69th.

“I would like to give credit to Zambia for pushing us to the final whistle despite playing with only 10 men for about 50 minutes. The win is big for Ethiopia because they have been in the doldrums for many years and when we came for this event, everyone knew we would be back after two matches, but here we are in the semi-finals. I am proud of these players and I believe they can go all the way to the final,” Ethiopia’s coach Iffy Onoura said.

Zambia coach Dario Bonetti blamed poor officiating for their loss and said African countries cannot progress with poor officiating.

“It is a pitty that today’s match was decided by the referee. He denied us a clear goal in the first half that could have changed the match, then later sent off my key player for no good reason. There is no way Africa can grow with poor officiating. This attitude must change,” said Bonetti.

On paper, Zambia started the match as clear favourites after having a comfortable qualification to the knock-out stage, but could not break their jinx of dropping out at the quarters. During last year’s event in Nairobi, they were halted at the same level by underdogs Zanzibar.

Tesfaye Alebachew scored the opener for Ethiopia in the 18th minute, heading in Abebaw Butako’s cross and on song striker Umed Ukuri, who plies his trade for Ethiopian league side Defence Force Addis Ababa, added the second in the 21st minute with a powerful shot that gave Zambian custodian Raja Kola no chance.

Venecious Mapande seemed to have pulled one back for Ethiopia when he headed in Allan Makuka’s free kick, but Ugandan referee Ali Kalyango ruled him offside.

They were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when Thomas Nyirenda was sent off for protesting to the referee. Nyirenda had fouled Shemele Godo and was not happy with the referee’s decision to book him.

In the second half, Zambia started strongly and pulled one back in the 58th minute when Felix Sunzu’s intended cross found Ethiopian custodian Jemal Bushera flat footed. It was Sunzu’s fifth goal of the tournament.

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