Fashion Sakala scored a brace to lead Zambia U23 national team to a 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville in the first leg final round Egypt U23 AFCON qualifier.
Zambia was the first to settle and the first to threaten. The 'Bola na Lesa' Boys broke the deadlock after just eight minutes as Fashion Sakala tapped in from close range after a beautiful ball from Patson Daka.
Zambia could have easily made it two-nil but Fashion Sakala chose the wrong option going it alone instead of squaring it for Gamphani Lungu who was in a better position. Patson Daka had two chances to increase the lead but the Redbull Salzburg forward failed to beat the Congo Brazzaville goalkeeper.
The game went to the break with Zambia taking their 1-0 lead. Brazzaville came back with a lot of intent in the second half and leveled matters a minute into the second half Jacques Temopele with a beautifully headed goal.
Beston Chambeshi made changes to his side withdrawing Emmanuel Banda for Ngosa Sunzu, Gamphani Lungu for Harrison Chisala and Klings Kangwa for Biston Banda to try and switch things around. The bringing in of Ngosa Sunzu gave Mwepu the chance to go up and be more creative.
Fashion Sakala grabbed the winner two minutes to time to send the National Heroes Stadium into a frenzy, 2-1 the match finished.
Zambia will now travel for the return leg will in Pointe Noire slated for September 8. The winner over two legs will qualify to the 2019 AFCON that will be hosted by Egypt in November.
Zambia 2-1 Congo Brazzaville
(F. Sakala 7', 88'|Jacques Temopele 46')
Zambia starting XI: Mangani Banda – Shemmy Mayembe, Solomon Sakala, Moses Nyondo, Kebson Kamanga -Emmanuel Banda, Klings Kangwa, Enock Mwepu- Gamphani Lungu, Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala.
Bench: Charles Muntanga, Prosper Chiluya, Field Kandela, Ngosa Sunzu, Harrison Chisala, Lameck Banda, Biston Banda.
Congo Brazzaville: Ombadza Mpea, Ondon Rhyce, Ondongo Julfin, Makouta Gatus, Mouandza Mapata, Mbenza Kambo, Langa Lesse B, Temopele Jacques, Masanga Matona,Obongo Prince and Nkounkou William.
Bench: Ngoma Overcien, Mohendizi Hilda, Elenga Kanga .P, Nongo Capriciat, Itali Ossete, Matimbou Will, Mbo-Izako B.R.