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Olympics Football: Banda scores another hat-trick for Zambia but lets VAR penalty earn China exciting

The Copper Queens were on their way to victory before conceding a late penalty that allowed them to share the points

Zambia could not maintain their lead and eventually drew 4-4 against China in a dramatic Olympic Games meeting on Saturday at Miyagi Stadium.

Wang Shuang scored China’s four goals, while captain Barbra Banda scored a hat-trick, while the other goal for the African representative was scored by Rachael Kundananji.

Both China and Zambia lost their opening matches against Brazil and the Netherlands respectively before drawing the second Group F match.

In the first two minutes, Copper Queens was close to opening an opener, but in the first place, Banda missed the goal from close range before China’s Shimeng Peng stopped Avell Chitundu’s shot for the second time.

But China recovered and took the lead in the sixth minute when Shuang presented them to punish an otherwise adventurous and offensive Zambia. In the eighth minute, Irene Lungu was not clinical enough with her chance to restore equality for the Afrikaner.

Bruce Mwape’s team tied the score in the 15th minute when Kundananji pressed, but Shuang restored China’s lead as she grabbed her afternoon innings in the 22nd minute. A minute later, Shuang registered a hat-trick as she stretched China’s lead to 3-1 against an astonishing Zambia.

In the 37th minute, Mwape made his first change when she took on Mary Wilombe in place of Martha Tembo. Zambia scored the second goal two minutes before the break when Banda converted a penalty kick when Kundananji was brought down.

Zambia rejuvenated in the second half and their fighting spirit was rewarded in the 46th minute when Banda – with the help of the expert Kundananji – made the score 3-3. Grace Chanda would have taken fourth place, but her effort from close to the 48th minute went high as Zambia seemed more determined to keep going.

Mwepu made a second change in the 62nd minute when she replaced Margaret Belemu with Esther Siamfuko. In the 69th minute, Banda grabbed a hat-trick as she hit the fourth goal for the Copper Queens, and the Zambian forward now scored six goals in two games.

China won a penalty in the 84th minute – after VAR confirmed that Lushomo Mweemba had handled the ball – giving it the chance to restore equality through Shuang. China had to face Zambia with fewer players after Li Qingtong was sent off in the 86th minute.

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