Zambia are through to the Africa Cup of Nations finals after a 1-0 win over favourites Ghana, stunning the Black Stars after being on the back foot all match. A late goal was all they needed to advance after surviving almost 80 minutes of strong Ghana pressure, and the defence held strong after their illustrious opponents made a late, desperate push for the equaliser.
Ghana should never have let the game stay scoreless for so long. They had a fine opportunity to take the lead just seven minutes in after Kwadwo Asamoah was bundled over in the box only for Asamoah Gyan to lackadaisically place the penalty within reach of Kennedy Mweene, who got down to his left to push the ball behind for a corner. A few minutes later, Mweene would have had no chance had Marseille's Jordan Ayew, left unmarked on a free kick, connected with his volley, but the winger completely missed the ball and Zambia once again escaped.
The underdogs weren't entirely on the back foot during the first half - Rainford Kalaba ripped open the Ghanaian defence on a rare foray forward by Zambia, only for Christopher Katongo to shank a first-time shot wide of Adam Larsen's right-hand post, but Ghana certainly had the better of play. That story continued in the second, with chance after chance wasted by the Black Stars, and they were finally made to pay in the 77th minute.
Substitute Emmanuel Mayuka didn't look much like threatening Larsen's goal when he picked up possession, but he cut inside John Boye and let loose with a gorgeous curling effort that went in off the upright to give Zambia a shock 1-0 lead. With a little over ten minutes left, Ghana, suddenly faced with the prospect of elimination, started looking desperate, and it didn't take long for them to fall into an even deeper hole when Derek Boateng received a second yellow card for breaking up a counterattack in rather rugby-like fashion.
Down to ten men, Ghana threw everything forwards and really should have drawn level after an almighty goalmouth scramble as the game ticked over into injury time. Zambia saw the four remaining minutes out, however, and advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations final for the first time since 1994. They'll await the winner of Mali and the Ivory Coast to see who'll be joining them.