At the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Friday night, Zambia defeated Congo 4-2 after overcoming an early scare.
This is their first 2026 World Cup qualifying match.
After early goals from Patson Daka (5′) and Mons Bassouamina (15′) were canceled out by Silver Ganvoula (13′) and Lameck Banda (43′), the two teams went into halftime tied at 2-2.
The Chipolopolo scored once in each half, but Fashion Sakala gave them another lead in 69 minutes, and Daka completed the victory in stoppage time.
Ahead of Niger’s match against Tanzania on Saturday, Chipolopolo’s three points in Ndola vaulted them to the top of Group E.
After just five minutes, Daka headed home Emmanuel Banda’s cross to give the hosts the lead and set up an exciting first half.
But their lead was short-lived as Ganvoula gave Congo a response eight minutes later with a finish inside the box, and on the quarter-hour mark, Bassouamina scored past Francis Mwansa after a defensive blunder by the visitors made it 2-1.
In an attempt to react, Zambia managed to get one back just before halftime when the same player twisted his marker and fired a shot into the net in the 43rd minute.
Banda came dangerously close to tying the score on 31 minutes when his effort struck the underside of the crossbar.
Wolfrigon Mongondza had to be on his toes to deny a Daka attempt in the 62nd minute, but the goalkeeper was powerless to stop Sakala from scoring seven minutes later after Bandam, who was having a great game, picked him out inside the box.
With just six minutes remaining in play, replacement Edward Chilufya banged his effort against the post, giving the Red Devils another fortunate bounce thanks to the woodwork.
Daka did, however, still have time to add his name to the scoresheet as he scored from inside the area in the 92nd minute, after Fashion Sakala had done a great job setting him up on the left.