DAR-E-SALAAM, Tanzania, December 7- Zambia and Malawi, two of the guest teams bade farewell to the ongoing Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup after they went down fighting to their opponents Ethiopia and Ivory Coast on Tuesday.
The Ivorians put up a gallant show to dispatch the well drilled Malawi with a solitary goal in the poorly attended tie staged at the Dar es Salaam National Stadium.
Cote D’Ivoire had to wait until the 80th minute when second half substitute Kipre Tchetche slammed home the match winner from almost 20 metres past Malawi custodian Simplex Nthara.
The victors really deserved to win the match. They created many chances that went begging with Kipre Bolou and Kone Zoumana being the biggest culprits.
Malawi who received thunderous cheers from home fans kept possession, displaying their traditional free flowing football but they were unable to translate their chances to goals.
Malawi’s Henry Kabnich came close to scoring early in the 8th minute when he hit the post with a powerful shot that rebounded back to play for their opponents custodian Sangare Dadra to grab the rebound. Frank Banda and Victor Nyirenda also went close to giving Malawi two goals in the 44th and 62nd minute but their efforts were cleared off the line by Cote D’Ivoire defenders Wawa Pascal and Bile Erick respectively.
Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri admitted he lost to a better side after the final whistle.He said he was proud with his charges who gave their best despite being a young and inexperienced side.
Ethiopia became the first team to qualify for the semis when they shocked a 10-man Zambia team.
Ethiopia’s goals came through Tesfaye Alebachew in the 18th minute and Omod Okwury in the 21st minute, while Felix Sunzu scored Zambia’s only goal in the 58th minute.
Zambia coach Dario Bonetti blamed poor officiating for the Chipolopolo’s loss and said Africa countries would not progress with poor officiating.
“It is a pitty that today’s match was decided with by the referee. He denied us a clear goal in the first half that could have totally changed the match, then later sent off my key player for no worthy reason. There is no way Africa can grow with poor officiating, this attitude must be changed,” said Bonetti.
Zambia had entered the match as favourites after easily qualifying for the knock out stage, but could not go beyond the quarter finals of the competition for the second year in a row.
Tesfaye Alebachew scored the opener for Ethiopia in the 18th minute, heading in Abebaw Butako’s cross and on song striker Umed Ukuri who plies his trade for Ethiopian league side Defence Force Addis Ababa added the second in the 21st minute with a powerful one time shot that gave Zambian custodian Raja Kola no chance.
Venecious Mapande seemed to have pulled one back for Ethiopia when he headed in Allan Makuka’s free kick, but Ugandan referee Ali Kalyango ruled him offside.
They were reduced to 10 men in the 37th minute when Thomas Nyirenda was sent off for protesting to the referee. Nyirenda had fouled Shemele Godo and was not happy with the referee’s decision to book him.
In the second half, Zambia started strongly and pulled one back in the 58th minute when Felix Sunzu’s intended cross found Ethiopian custodian Jemal Bushera flat footed. It was Sunzu’s fifth goal of the tournament.