Live Commentary: Zambia 1-1 Ethiopia - as it happened

Zambia defender Stoppila Sunzu in action against South Africa on November 14, 2012
© AP Photos
Live commentary of Zambia's game against Ethiopia in group C at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ethiopia came from behind to earn a draw against Zambia in their first Africa Cup of Nations game in 21 years.

The reigning champions took a first-half lead after Ethiopia's goalkeeper was shown a straight red for a high challenge.

However, Ethiopia continued their attacking style throughout, finding an equaliser midway throughout the second half.

Read how all the action unfolded below:

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2.31pmGood afternoon. We're just half an hour away from Zambia starting the defence of their Africa Cup of Nations crown against Ethiopia. Let's start by having a look at the lineups for today's game.

2.33pmZambia starting XI: Kennedy Mweene, Davies Nkausu, Hichani Himoonde, Stopilla Sunzu, Joseph Musonda, Chisamba Lungu, Isaac Chansa, Nathan Sinkala, Rainford Kalaba, Chris Katongo, Collins Mbesuma.

2.35pmEthiopia starting XI: Jemal Tassew, Abebaw Butako, Aynalem Hailu, Biyadglign Eliase, Seyum Tesfaye, Asrat Megersa, Minyahile Teshome, Shimelese Bekele, Adane Girma, Getaneh Kebede, Saladin Said.

2.37pmAhead of the game, both team's head coaches have been speaking to BBC Sport, Zambia's Herve Renard said: "The first game against Ethiopia is very important - it is crucial that we start the tournament with a win just as we did last year.

"A lot of pundits do not believe we can win the title again and do not want to take risks with their predictions. It is easier to say Zambia will never win the Cup of Nations again.

"Should we fail to retain the trophy, it simply means another team was better than us. However, it will be very difficult to beat this Zambian team."

2.38pmHis opposite number, Sewnet Bishaw said: "We worked really hard to qualify and people should appreciate that. We cleared difficult hurdles in Benin and Sudan and will not make life easy for any opponents. Hard work and unity are our strengths.

"We succeeded because of intense training and a high level of discipline. I just hope we can learn from some of the silly goals we conceded in Khartoum."

2.42pmThere is one Premier League player in the Zambia squad. Southampton's Emmanuel Mayuka doesn't start today, but does have 10 goals in his 38 previous appearances for his country.

2.45pmSaladin Said is likely to be the player to watch for Ethiopia. The striker has 14 caps for the side, and has scored 10 goals. He plays his club football in Egypt for Wadi Degla, who paid just over £150,000 for the 24-year-old, making him Ethiopia's most expensive footballer.

2.48pmSaid is one of just three players in the Ethiopia squad who do not play their club football in the country. Yusuf Salah is currently on loan at Syrianska in Sweden, while Fuad Ibrahim is based in America.

2.50pmZambia have a greater variety of clubs represented in their squad, with players based in Portugal, South Africa and Holland all involved.

2.52pmThere's a good crowd building at the Mbombela Stadium, which was one of the facilities built for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

2.53pmThe players have come out on the pitch, and we're having the national anthems for both teams ahead of the game.

2.56pmWith three draws in the opening four games of the tournament, I'm hoping for another close and competitive game this afternoon. Ethiopia caused some upsets on their way to qualification so could be dangerous. However, Zambia won the tournament less than a year ago, and have made few changes to their squad since. I think I'm going to predict a Zambia win.

2.57pmJust before the game gets underway, the captains from both teams take a fair play declaration.

2.59pmIn their 15 previous meetings, Zambia have nine wins, Ethopia have two, and there have been four draws.

0 minZambia get the game underway.

2 minStopilla Sunzu takes an early shot from distance. The effort is well high in the end, but Zambia have started this game on the front foot.

4 minEthiopia make their first attacking move of the game and force a corner. The ball falls to Himoonde, but he scoops the ball high. A bright start from both teams.

6 minJudging by the colour of the shirts in the crowd and the amount of noise being made, it's mainly Ethiopian fans in the stadium today.

7 minIt's been a high tempo start to the game. The players from both teams have struggled to control the ball early on, which won't be helped by the quality of the pitch, which is rather more yellow and brown than you might expect.

8 minCHANCE! Katongo takes a shot for Zambia. It's on target but lacks power, and in the end it's an easy save for Tassew.

9 minZambia are awarded a free kick for a foul in the build up to Katongo's strike, but Ethiopia deal with the threat and put the ball out of play, simple but solid defending there.

10 minEthiopia are back on the attack, stirring their vuvuzela-toting fans. Alas, the ball gets away from them, and Zambia are quickly down the other end looking for a chance to shoot.

11 minBOOKING! Stopilla Sunzu is the first player to be shown a yellow for a scissor tackle around Kalaba's midriff. A totally unnecessary challenge.

13 minTeshome gets in the box for Ethiopia ready for a cross, but he's beaten to the header by Zambia, and the ball is cleared, and the reigning champions are pressing forward again.

14 minMusonda makes a brilliant run down the wing, and he has teammates waiting in the box, but his cross is poor, and easily dealt with by the Ethiopian back four.

16 minMusonda gets another chance and finds Chansa, who promptly fires the ball in to the stands. A very attacking and open start to the game.

17 minCHANCE! Mweene comes out to clear from Kebede, but the Ethiopia player loops the ball over the keeper. Mweene's blushes are only saved by the poor pitch, which causes the ball to bounce high on to the roof of the net.

20 minZambia take the ball up the other end again and force a corner. Kalaba takes the corner, which eventually finds Katongo, who heads the ball just high. Zambia have had the majority of the possession so far, and probably look the more likely to score.

22 minPENALTY! Saladin Said is hacked down in the box, and the referee points to the spot immediately.

24 minSAVE! Saladin Said's penalty is a poor one, and goes straight to Kennedy Mweene, who makes a brilliant save with his fingertips.

26 minSAVE! Zambia are straight on the counter attack, Katongo forcing a save from Tassew, who puts the ball out for a corner.

28 minIt certainly hasn't been the most skilled display so far, but it's end to end stuff! Zambia have seen more of the ball but Ethiopia look like scoring every time they get the ball.

29 minSaid takes a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but it's rising from the moment it leaves his boot and ends up well high of the crossbar. He's had a busy opening half hour though, and is certainly creating chances for Ethiopia.

30 minZambia get a free kick around 30 yards out. The kick falls beyond the wall with a brace of Zambian players chasing it in. Tassew comes out to take the ball, a good move by the Ethiopia keeper.

31 minThe ball is looked forward to Lungu, with the Zambia forward racing towards the Ethiopia goal. He collides with Tassew on the edge of the box and the ball goes wide, but both players look to be in pain.

33 minTassew looks to have caught Lungu in the midriff with a high tackle. He could be in trouble with the ref when he gets back up.

35 minChisanba Lungu is back on the sideline and seems to ok. The referee is still hovering by Tassew, and has a red card waiting in his hand.

36 minRED CARD! Jemal Tassew is sent off while being carried off the pitch on a stretcher. It's a disaster for Ethiopia.

38 minThere's some confusion at the minute. The referee is trying to place the free kick while Ethiopia are keen to bring on the substitute keeper. The Ethiopia fans aren't happy, and a few vuvuzelas are thrown at the pitch.

39 minZerihun Tadelle is warmed up and has his gloves on at the side of the pitch. The game hasn't resumed yet while the pitch is cleared of the debris from the crowd. There's going to be quite a bit of stoppage time this half.

40 minSUBSTITUTION! Shimelese Bekele is man sacrificed to bring Tadelle on. It looks like we're almost ready to resume play.

42 minMbesuma eventually takes the free kick, and it's an anti-climax as the effort lacks power and bobbles wide for a goal kick.

44 minThe referee is in danger of losing control of the match as Said is shoved down and looks for a yellow card against Zambia. The striker does get a free kick, which results in a shot, but it's an easy take for Mweene.

45+2 minBOOKING! Joseph Musonda is the latest player to attract the referee's attention for an accumulation of dodgy challenges. It's a messy end to a very entertaining half.

45+3 minGOAL! Zambia 1-0 Ethiopia (Mbesuma)

45+3 minZambia didn't take long to make their numerical advantage count, Collins Mbesuma on the half volley just inside the box.

45+3 minHALF-TIME Zambia 1-0 Ethiopia

3.51pmWhat a first half, I'm not quite sure where to start! A missed penalty, a red card, a late goal, vuvuzelas on the pitch. A brilliantly dramatic yet entertaining opening 45 minutes.

3.52pmZambia's head coach Herve Renard didn't look happy with the referee as the players headed in. He wanted to know why there wasn't more injury time, with the Jemal Tassew incident taking the best part of 10 minutes to deal with.

3.54pmLet's start with the missed penalty. Kennedy Mweene will take the credit for making a quality save in the Zambia goal, but it wasn't the best effort from Saladin Said, who was the most threatening player on the pitch for Ethiopia.

3.56pmThe referee did well when Jemal Tassew and Chisamba Lungu collided on the edge of the Ethiopia area. It was a reckless effort from the Ethiopia keeper, catching the Zambia player with his leg in the stomach. Eric Otogo-Castane waited for the keeper to receive treatment, before showing him a red card as he was taken off the field on a stretcher - not how he would have wanted to end the game!

3.57pmThe goal was a cracker from Collins Mbesuma. The striker kept his cool to half volley the ball beyond Zerihan Tadele just before the break. The substitute goalkeeper had only been on the pitch for a few minutes.

3.58pmThe mainly Ethiopian crowd weren't happy with the red card and the goal, and showed their displeasure with pelting the pitch with vuvuzelas, which added to the delay after the red card as officials needed to clear the debris.

3.59pmEven without the incidents it had been a thoroughly entertaining half. Neither side have a lot defensively, which has led to an open and attacking game. Let's hope for more of the same in the second half.

4.02pmIt will be a big ask for Ethiopia to get back in this game. Zambia had the majority of the possession prior to the sending off, and will look to use their extra man to dominate.

4.03pmThe players are back out on the pitch getting ready for the second half.

45 minEthiopia get the second half underway.

46 minZambia are on the attack straight away, Kalaba forcing a save from the replacement keeper inside the opening minute.

48 minKatongo is penalised for a hand ball as the poor pitch conditions result in a high bounce, which strikes the Zambia player on the arm, there wasn't much he could have done to have got out of the way.

50 minSaid sets Kebede up outside the box for a hopeful strike. The ball is always rising, and goes well high.

51 minChansa is down and holding his head. He clashed heads with Kebede while jumping for the ball, and the referee has stopped play so that he can receive treatment.

52 minIt looks like Chansa is alright to carry out after a quick check by the medical staff.

53 minIt's been a much calmer start to the second half, Zambia are looking to keep the ball more, rather than allow the free-flowing football of the first half.

55 minSunzu looks to get the ball up the field, but it bounces off a divet in the pitch, and Ethiopia re-take possession and head towards the Zambia goal, but a mix up in communication sees Ethiopia put the ball out.

57 minSo far, Ethiopia are coping well despite being a player short, Zambia obviously aren't keen on the high-pace of the first 45 minutes, but Ethiopia seem happy to continue with the tempo.

58 minZambia force a corner and the ball drops to Musonda, but the defender's effort is well high.

60 minThe Cup holders are starting to dominate possession, easily passing the ball around in midfield. It looks like they're pushing to double their advantage.

61 minKatongo gets the ball on the edge of the area, but his strike is both high and wide.

61 minSUBSTITUTION Some fresh legs for Zambia as Musonda is replaced by Jacob Mulenga, who plays for Dutch side Utrecht.

63 minAlthough it was correct, the sending off really seems to be affecting the game. Ethiopia aren't able to chase the game as much as they did earlier in the game, while Zambia seems happy ust to keep the ball.

63 minSUBSTITUTION Addis Hintsa comes on for Getaneh Kebede

64 minGOAL! Zambia 1-1 Ethiopia (Girma)

64 minHintsa's impact is instant as he gets the ball in midfield to set up Adane Girma, who slots the ball in from close range to level the scores. Game on!

65 minZambia have upped the tempo immediately and take the ball up towards the Ethiopia goal. Lungu gets the ball to Katongo, but the goalscorer Girma makes a clearance.

67 minThe crowd had been reasonably quiet this half, but the goal has captured their attention, and the noise of vuvuzelas fills the stadium again.

69 minLungu displays some nifty footwork in midfield to send the ball up towards the Ethiopia goal.

70 minBOOKING! Zambia's goalscorer Collins Mbesuma is shown a yellow card for simulation. The striker hit the deck in the penalty box. Replays show that he did have his shirt pulled.

72 minZambia are looking really dangerous now as they push to try to restore their lead. Sunzu gets the ball to Sinkala, but Megersa is on hand to make the clearance. .

73 minSaid crosses towards Girma, who runs towards the Zambia penalty area looking for his second, but the cross has too much pace and goes out for a goal kick.

74 minCHANCE! Substitute Mulenga has a great chance to put Zambia back in front with a close-range header, but his effort goes just high, landing on the the roof of the net.

75 minAddis Hintsa has looked mighty for Ethiopia since being brought on. Having already created the equaliser, the midfielder is still pushing towards Zambia's goal, looking to set up a winner for his nations.

77 minSUBSTITUTION! Mukuka Mulenga is brought on for Isaac Chansa.

79 minSAVE! Tadelle has to make a save as Mulenga takes a shot inside the box. The ball goes out for a Zambia corner. The keeper makes another save from the corner, but seems to pick up a leg injury in the process.

81 minMukuka Mulenga have looked sharp since coming off the bench for Zambia. He takes the ball towards the Ethiopia goal but can't get his shot away. Ethiopia immediately counter, and Sinkala is forced to make a block inside the penalty area at the other end.

83 minSAVE! Jacob Mulenga calls Tadelle in to action again, looking to slide in a low ball, but the replacement keeper gets his body low and behind the ball to stop the ball crossing the line.

85 minSUBSTITUTION! It's the final change for Zambia, and they bring on Southampton's Emmanuel Mayuka for Katongo.

86 minBoth sides are chasing a winner with less than five minutes left. The way this game has gone, either side could end up victorious.

88 minSinkala passes to Mbesuma, but the goalscorer is flagged offside before he can take a shot. Looking at the replays, it looked like he was level to me.

89 minEthiopia concede a free kick around 20 yards out. Sinkala goes from a strike from the edge of the penalty area, but the ball hits a divet just before he takes the shot, and it flies well high of the crossbar.

90 minMayuka gets the ball to the left of the goal and looks to set himself up for a shot, but the linesman raises his flag for offside.

90+1 minThere will be three minutes of stoppage time.

90+3 minA late push from Ethiopia sees them looking threatening on the edge of the Zambia penalty area, but Zambia have defenders back, and they get the ball clear before there's a shot.

90+4 minBOOKING! Butako is shown a yellow card for time wasting, having spent a good 20 seconds thinking about a throw in.

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Zambia 1-1 Ethiopia

4.54pmA draw feels about right in the end. Zambia had more chances and possession than their opponents, but Ethiopia showed great character to come from behind while down to 10 men

4.55pmThe second half failed to deliver as much excitement as the first, but there was still plenty of attacking football and pacy play throughout. Certainly, that was one of the more entertaining games of the tournament so far.

4.57pmThat's all from the Africa Cup of Nations for now. Join us again at 6pm for coverage of the other match from group C, which sees Nigeria face Burkina Faso. Until then, thanks for joining us this afternoon, good bye.

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