DATE: 18 January 2015
Venue: Estadio Ebebiyin;
City: Ebebiyin, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 18:00 CAT
Match Result: Zambia 1 – 1 DR Congo
Goal scorers: Given Singuluma (2′); Yannick Bolasie (66′)
The GSV Top Class Award
Despite the fixture ending in a stalement, there were moments of brilliance and pure class that made for exciting viewing. The most notable of these was the DR Congo’s equaliser, scored by Crystal Palace player Yannick Bolasie. While his overall performance was good enough to earn him this award, that clinical strike to get his side back into the game ensured that the decision was beyond all doubt. A good performance and a stunning goal, top class Yannick Bolasie.
The Class Clown Award
There were moments in the game when we felt as though we might have to award quite a few Class Clown awards, the first of which being the calamitous defending in the build up to the opening goal. The DR Congo back line lost their concentration and their defensive shape, allowing Singuluma a shot at goal that put the team under unnecesary pressure early on. Another candidate for The Class Clown was Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who at times seemed incapable of holding onto the ball. But The Class Clown award goes to the man in the dugout, Honour Janza. While his troops were able to capitalise on shoddy defending for the opening goal, they were absent from the game for much of the rest of it, absorbing pressure and creating no chances, something a change of tactic might have affected. We feel the coach had no plan B at times, and for a man tasked with leading the Zambian charge to the top, a plan B is always necessary. We will have to wait for Zambia’s next outing to see if lessons were learnt.
The Grand Stand View
We expected a physical game, where both teams would have to fight hard for the ball and work even harder to keep, in a game that would be closely contested in midfield. But the Zambians, who scored in the 2nd minute after some poor defending, failed to build from there and were virtually anonymous for the rest of the game, as DR Congo pressed and eventually got their equaliser. Yannick Bolasie, who won our Top Class Award, was always going to be a vital weapon in DR Congo’s arsenal, and a useful weapon he proved to be, making a late run into the box to guide the ball past the keeper in sublime fashion. Not the worst 1-1 draws we will ever see, but both sides will be be looking to improve going forward.