The favourites were put to the sword as the underdogs produced a strong first-half performance that yielded them an unassailable two-goal advantageFirst half goals from Emmanuel Mayuka and Rainford Kalaba ensured Zambia earned all three points in their opening 2012 Africa Cup of Nations game against favourites Senegal, claiming a 2-1 success.
A second half consolation from the west Africans, which was scored by Deme N'Doye, was not enough to give them a point.
Highly-rated Senegal failed to live up to their billing as a composed Zambia squad controlled much of the game, particularly the first half. Many critics had written off the Zambians, yet it was them who deservedly led after only 11 minutes.
Young Boys striker Mayuka put coach Herve Renarb’s charges in the lead with a free header that owed much to the lousy defence of coach Amara Traore’s side. The 21-year-old converted from three yards past goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
Senegal threatened to get the leveller two minutes later, but a free kick from Mamadou Niang followed up by a header from Moussa Sow was pushed out by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
The Copper Bullets were on top of their game as captain Christopher Katongo controlled affairs for the southern Africans, and a smart feed to Kabala allowed the striker to fire past Coundoul to increase their tally in the 20th minute.
The Senegalese were found wanton, especially their defence, whenever the Zambians headed towards their goalmouth, though the score was unchanged before the break.
The Teranga Lions added some spark into their play with the introduction of Papiss Demba Cisse. But coach Traore’s half-time briefing and changes were not enough to overturn the deficit, though they did manage to produce a consolation courtesy N'Doye. The Copenhagen striker chested down from a long free kick and then fired past Mweene.
In spite of the west African’s determination to live up to expectations, going so close as to hit the bar, the Zambians held on to their win to top Group A on three points, leading Equatorial Guinea on goals scored.