By Bernard Nkweto
The Zambia Women’s National Football has suffered a 5 nil loss at the hands of 2011 World Champions Japan in the opening match of their World Cup Campaign.
ZAMBIA, who are participating in their first ever FIFA World Cup tournament, went into the game without first Choice Goalkeeper HAZEL NALI and Vice Captain GRACE CHANDA who have been ruled out of the tournament due to an injury and illness, respectively.
JAPAN made a statement in the early exchanges of the game in the 5th minute through a MINA TANAKA effort but CATHERINE MUSONDA pulled off a fine save to deny the Asians their opener.
MUSONDA was once again called into action a few minutes later when AOBA FUJINA’s long-range effort produced a fine save from Zambia’s goal-minder.
The Copper Queens escaped another threat at goal when TANAKA’s effort hit the woodwork in the 10th minute, much to the pleasure of the Zambians.
TANAKA thought she had scored for Japan but her goal was ruled out for offside thanks to the Video Assistant Referee, VAR.
It, however, didn’t take long before JAPAN’s efforts paid off in the 43rd minute when HINATA MIYAZAWA benefited from FUJINO’s cross to make it 1 nil for Japan just before half time.
VAR came to Zambia’s rescue once again when FUJINO was fouled in the penalty box which was ruled out for offside after the Referee pointed to the spot for a penalty.
TANAKA proved to be too difficult to handle for the Copper Queens and her efforts paid off in the 54th minute when she scored from close range after a beautiful ball in the penalty box from ENDO.
MIYAZAWA then completed her brace and made it 3 nil with TANAKA turning into provider.
Soon after, three became four when ENDO scored in the 71st minute through a solo effort.
Zambians were then reduced to 10 when Second Choice Goalkeeper CATHERINE MUSONDA was given matching orders after a red card allowing Japan to convert from a penalty spot through UEKI’s second attempt.
Zambia will now seek for a response in their second game against Spain on Wednesday, next week.
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