Africa’s sole reps in the Olympic women football event Zambia battled China to the finish on Saturday to earn a point after a 4-4 draw.
The rampaging Barbra Banda captained side fresh from a 10-3 demolition by Netherlands took on China man-to-man if for nothing else keep hope alive and avoid another baptism of fire. Captain Barbra who plies her trade with Shanghai Shengli scored a hat-trick in the encounter her second hat-trick in two matches even as China’s Wang Shuang scored the entire four goals.
While the Copper Queens are fighting to make waves their captain is equally accumulating a lot of accolades becoming the first player male or female to score consecutive hat tricks at the tournament.
Both they and China are on one point from their opening two matches, while Netherlands and Brazil both on three points meet later on Saturday.
China, who had themselves been thumped 5-0 by Brazil in their Olympic opener, started strongly at the Miyagi Stadium, and took a lead through the irrepressible Shuang in the sixth minute when she finished calmly in the box after being played in by Zhang Xin.
The warning signs had been there for Zambia, who made three changes following Netherlands thrashing, from the opening minute of the contest.
Late in first-half stoppage time, Zambia, ranked 104th in the world, launched their second comeback of the day, with Banda the first female player from her country to play in China predictably leading the charge.
The 21-year-old had broken several personal records in that 10-3 defeat by Netherlands despite the chaos around her, becoming Zambia’s first scorer at the tournament, the first African to score a hat trick at the competition, and the continent’s highest all-time women’s scorer in Olympic history.
The 2020 Chinese Women’s Super League top scorer was again in sensational form, netting coolly from the spot two minutes from the break when after the influential Kundananji had been brought down in the box.
Both teams have conceded a combined 21 goals up to this point in the tournament
Zambia have already broken the record for goals scored by an African team in a single Olympic competition, although the draw leaves both teams with much to do to advance to the quarterfinals; China face Netherlands in Yokohama and Zambia face Brazil in Saitama in their final matches on Tuesday. The Copper Queens must be in the best when they confront Brazil on Tuesday to avoid story that touch with way Brazil have been playing.