Mauritania 1 v Zambia 2 and the road to Qatar is romantically marginalized.
A cagy youthful Zambian side put up a bitter-sweet display to beat Mauritania in an ugly win that saw Zambia soar to the summit of the table with a 2-1 win in Mauritania.
Captain of the side Enock Mwepu fired Zambia ahead in the 10th minute after sweetly connecting from a Prince Mumba Cross. The Brighton Hove midfield maestro was dominant and in charge of the midfield from the onset and his efforts paid when he fired Zambia into an early lead.
The jittery Zambian side however lost grip and fluency almost immediately as Mauritania hijacked the cockpit of the match.
The home side kept pressing Zambia for detail asking the Solomon Sakala defense many questions he kept stammering to answer but goalkeeper Mwenya Chibwe was steady fast as Zambia went on the break holding on to the delicate lead.
The pendulum of pressure kept weighing on the shoulders of Zambia on the resumption of the second half and Zambia was lucky to escape a penalty scare when Solomon Sakala brought down Bakary Ba in the Zambian area.
Zambia however kept pressing on the counter with Lubambo Musonda doing the damage on the wings.
Zambia then doubled the lead in the 64th minute when Lubambo and flat-footed Daka made some clever exchanges on the right before Prince Mumba finished the move with tapping from close Range.
Mauritania pulled one goal back at the death but it was too late and too little as Zambia got the world cup qualifiers off to a flier with an away 2-1 win.
Zambia will host Tunisia on Tuesday in the second match of the qualifiers