Kabaso nets twice as Zambia down Ivory Coast
Augustine Kabaso netted twice as Zambia beat the Ivory Coast 2-0 in Marrakech to take a major step towards the African Nations Championship quarter finals.
Kabaso, one of the stars of the tournament, netted once in each half - both goals coming after sterling work from Ernest Mbewe - as Zambia made it two wins out of two.
Having lost both matches, Ivory Coast now need to beat Uganda in their final match and hope other results go their way to progress, although they will be eliminated if Namibia beat the Cranes in Thursday's later kick off.
The Ivory Coast had had the best early chance when William Togui Mel's effort was blocked by Toaster Nsabata after Sanogo Vieira's cross by the time Zambia took the lead in the seventh minute.
As Chipolopolo had taken the lead against Uganda with a searing counter attack, so they broke the deadlock with pace and directness again here.
Ernest Mbewe, darting down the right flank, found Lazarous Nambole - the hero of their opening win - and after Essis Baudelaire's slip afforded Kabaso space, the wideman made no mistake with a calm right-footed finish.
After that, Zambia had a litany of chances to extend their lead, as the Ivorians, rattled by the prospect of a second consecutive defeat, wilted.
Zadi Ble was forced into a low save from Kondwani Mtonga's header moments after the goal, while Nambole sent a twisting effort wide from seven yards when he really should have hit the target.
Fonsinho, one of the great disappointments of the tournament so far, sent an angled shot into the arms of Toaster Nsabata after 17 minutes, but it was Zambia who went closest when Mbewe sent a header against the bar soon afterwards following great work from Kabaso.
Ivorian frustration grew after the break, with Togui Mel lashing a right-footed effort just wide on the hour mark, while Zambia missed the chance to add to their tally in the 67th minute when Mbewe's shot was blocked on the line after Zadi Ble had parried Kabaso's cross.
Zambia ultimately killed the game in the 73rd minute, with the fleet-footed Mbewe again influential.
The Ivorians had no answer for his pace down the right flank, and while Kabaso's first touch to control his cross was unwieldy, the midfielder got the ball under control, slalomed past a swathe of lunging Ivorian defenders, and planted his shot past Zadi Ble.
It was another statement of intent from Zambia, one of the dark horses for the CHAN title, while the Ivory Coast will rue another match in which they failed to get out of second gear.