The east African nation responded well despite the sending off of goalkeeper Jemal Tessaw to deny the defending champion a victory in a tough Group C contest.
Ten-man Ethiopia battled hard to claim a draw against Zambia in an entertaining Group C opening match in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
The east Africans had goalkeeper Jemal Tessaw sent off 10 minutes before the break for a harsh tackle and suffered more misery by conceding a goal on the stroke of halftime through Collins Mbesuma's well taken volley.
However, Adane Girma secured an equalizer with 25 minutes to play as the two teams shared the spoils in a result that will leave the Chipolopolo disappointed.
Won a penalty midway through the first half after Saladin's trickery proved too much for Chisamba Lungu, who impeded the latter. However, the No. 7 picked himself up and placed a tame shot that Mweene gleefully punched back into play to deny the Ethiopians the opening goal.
The entertaining contest was turned upside down after Tessaw's tackle on a goal bound Lungu was adjudged by Gabonese referee E. Otogo to have been dangerous. The custodian was sent off while on a stretcher following treatment that held the game up for close to five minutes.
In response to that decision, the numerous Ethiopian fans in the stadium began booing the referee and throwing objects such as mini flags, vuvuzelas and other small items onto the pitch. The official was forced to wait for the fans to calm down before clearing the outskirts of the pitch and restarting the match.
This resulted in a forced substitution with coach Sefnet Bishaw sacrificing midfielder Shimelese Bekele for substitute goalkeeper Zerihun Tadele.
Zambia took full advantage of Ethiopia playing one man less by taking the lead on the stroke of halftime through striker Collins Mbesuma's half volley that found its way to the bottom corner of the net after an assist from Isaac Chansa.
Ethiopia started the second half strongly in a bid to get back into the game but failed to find a way past Mweene until an incisive play inside the Zambia box, coupled with some slack defending, let Adane Girma through on goal, and the Saint Georges striker fired a fierce low shot that found its way into the near post with Mweene well beaten, earning a hard-fought draw.