Brian Mwila clebrates after completing his brace against Algeria on Saturday. Photo: Sid Kalungar/Backpagepix

LUSAKA – Zambia beat Algeria 3-1 at home in Lusaka over the weekend to end their losing jinx in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against 'Les Fennecs' and breath life into their ambitions of reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
 
A brace from Brian Mwila and a late strike by second-half substitute Enock Mwepu handed 10-man Zambia a much-needed lift on Saturday after a winless run of the previous two games.
 
Algeria came into the match with a 100 percent winning run against Zambia from four previous World Cup qualifying encounters. The win handed Zambia their first victory in Group B and lifted them to second on four points, five behind runaway leaders Nigeria.
 
Mwila put Zambia ahead in the sixth minute when he headed in Augustine Mulenga's cross. Mulenga could have added at least two more from attempts in the 12th and 17th minutes that went begging.
 
Mwila calmed Zambia in the 32nd minute when he completed his brace after Algeria goalie Rais Mbolhi parried Fashion Sakala's ball into his path and the striker made no mistake on the rebound.
 
Algeria though came back stronger after the break and got their lucky break in the 52nd minute when Yacine Brahimi rifled in an unstoppable volley. Three minutes later, Zambia were reduced to 10 men when Fashion Sakala was sent off for a second booking.
 
Algeria smelt blood but Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene was alert to the danger and made a critical save in the 78th minute to deny Islam Slimani just four minutes after the latter sent his shot narrowly wide.
 
Mwepu then put the result beyond reach in the 88th minute when his low shot from wide on the right from outside the box beat Mbolhi. Meanwhile, wounded Algeria regrouped immediately for Zambia whom they host in Constantine on Tuesday.
 
Algeria stay bottom of Group B on 1 point from three games and are a point behind third-placed Cameroon who lost 4-0 away to Nigeria in the other Group B clash earlier on Friday in Uyo.

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