Nelspruit - Zambia began the defence of their African Nations Cup title on Monday with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Ethiopia, who were reduced to 10 men in the first half of their opening Group C match.

Goalkeeper Jemal Tassew's flying chest-high kick on Zambian midfielder Chisamba Lungu caused an 11-minute delay in the eventful game at the Mbombela Stadium and his dismissal provoked an angry response from the passionate Ethiopian fans who threw bottles and vuvuzelas on the pitch in protest.

They were already upset after their key player Saladin Seid missed a penalty in the 25th minute after he was earlier denied what looked to be a certain goal as the ball bounced over an open goal on the hard surface.

The Ethiopian fans were even unhappier before the halftime whistle went when Collins Mbesuma fired Zambia ahead with a left-footed half-volley past substitute keeper Zerihun Tadelle.

However, Ethiopia equalised in the 65th minute when their skipper Adane Girma powered home a shot that went in off the post and they held on for a point. – Reuters