Sudan reach CHAN 2018 semis at expense of wasteful Zambia

Sudan caused something of an upset with a 1-0 win over Zambia in the quarter-finals of the African Nations Championship

Saifeldin Bakhit’s first-half strike sent Sudan into the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) semi-finals at the expense of unlucky Zambia.

The midfielder, continued his fine form in front of goal as he handed Zdravko Logarusic’s side a ticket to the semi-fnals on Wednesday, against either Nigeria or Angola.

Sudan, who were playing on the at the Marrakech Stadium for the first time, looked more at home on the surface than Zambia, who had played all three of their group matches at the stadium.

The Chipolopolo set their stall out early, dominating the opening exchanges as Sudan struggled to find an early foothold in the contest.

With a better finisher, a luckier man or just a more fortunate day at the office for Ernest Mbewe, Zambia would have wrapped up this second quarter-final with plenty of time left to spare in the second half.

As early as 13 minutes in, Martin Phiri won a free kick in a dangerous position, the delivery was almost perfect, but Augustine Mulenga arrived too late to meet it.

Saifeldin Bakhit responded quickly at the other end, stealing in at the back stick to rifle a vicious low effort at Toaster Nsabata after John Mwengani completely misjudged the the ball.

Martin Phiri then had multiple opportunities within seconds of each other. He shanked the first, then headed the follow-up over the crossbar.

Ziyo Tembo should have been in the box to meet another delicious low effort from Chama, but again arrived too late as both sides went into the break level.

Saifeldin Bakhit opened the second half with a mazy run and strike that Toaster Nsabata did well to scramble away.

Then Jackson Chirwa again failed to make hay from another Friday Samu cross, unable to untangle his feet from each other as the ball pinged around them.

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More misses followed, but it was Sudan who then came closest from a well-worked free kick. The ball was lifted over the wall, Latif Ismail beat the offside trap, then tried to loft it over Nsabata, but the goalkeeper was quick to read the danger, nimble enough to sprint off his line and sharp enough to make the point-blank save.

Zambia’s best chance of the game came in the 74th minute through Martin Phiri

But Phiri hesitated to deal with a fine layoff from Ernest Mbewe in front of an inviting goal as Zambia stuttered to the finish line in disjointed fashion to bow out of Africa Nations Championship.