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2022 Women’s Afcon: Zambia top Group B with big win over Togo

Zambia have secured top spot in Group B at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals following a thumping 4-1 victory over Togo at the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat on Saturday.

The win sets up a quarterfinal with Senegal on Wednesday that will not only be a shoot-out for a place in the semifinals of the continental competition but also qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The four semifinalists at this year’s African championship qualify automatically for the global showpiece, with two of the losing quarterfinalists having to go through a difficult route via the intercontinental play-offs.

Zambia finish their pool play with seven points from their three games, two ahead of Cameroon. Tunisia (three points) also advance as one of the best third-placed teams, while Togo (one) are out of the competition.

Zambia took the lead on 15 minutes when skipper Grace Chanda used her pace to break between the two Togo centre-backs, before sliding the ball past goalkeeper Ame Amouklou and into the empty.

The Copper Queens were utterly dominant and added a second with a fine strike from 35-yards by Ireen Lungu as the ball broke to her in the middle of the park and with Amouklou off her line.

Togo got one back out of nowhere as Yawa Konou’s free-kick from all of 40 yards looked innocuous, except Zambia goalkeeper Hazel Nali let it bounce in front of her, and then was defeated by the flight of the ball, leaving Afi Woedikou with a simple tap-in over the line.

But Zambia restored their two-goal advantage five minutes before halftime as Siomala Mapepa, who had been denied on a number of occasions by Amouklou, finally beat the keeper from a tight angle.

They scored their fourth when Mapepa’s looped cross fell just under the bar and captain Chanda headed in from literally a foot out.



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