Zambia maintained its hundred percent record at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) with Augustine Mulenga putting up a stellar performance that not only won him man of the match but sent Ivory Coast packing from the tournament.
Barely a day after turning 28 years old, Mulenga stole the show with two goals worth of winning a highly anticipated tie that sent Zambia into the quarterfinals with a game to spare.
Ivory Coast had come in the match on the back of losing the opening match to Namibia piling pressure on them to beat Zambia.
It took only eight minutes for Zambia to draw first blood when Mulenga got on the end of a Lazarous Kambole cross to pile more misery on the elephants.
Mulenga could have doubled the lead two minutes later but his header from a Fackson Kapumbu cross was saved.
The Ivorians were becoming more assertive with an aggressive Koumane Yao coming close.
There was a nervy moment when Donashano Malama found himself on the end of a foul with the referee cautioning him in the 19th minute.
In the 30th minute Ernest Mbewe had his shot coming off the post after having been serviced by Mulenga.
The two sides went to the break with Zambia leading 1-0.
In the second half Ivory Coast attempted to overturn the result but Zambia remained resilient.
Coach Wedson Nyirenda brought in Mike Katiba for Friday Samu in the 56th minute as he tried to stabilize his team.
Whatever hope the Ivorians had of making a comeback were dealt a vicious blow when Mulenga weaved his way through the defence and for the second time in the match beat Zadi Ble in the Ivory Coast goal.
Mulenga could be grateful for the effort that Mbewe made in the buildup to the goal.
Zambia moved to six points and maintain top position with Uganda and second placed Namibia in action in the second match of the day.
The Chipolopolo boys will play their final Group B match on Monday against Namibia in Casablanca,
Top teams in Group B will be paired against Group A teams where host nation Morocco and Sudan have qualified with a match to spare.
Zambia produced a man of the match for the second consecutive match after Kambole received the prize in the first match.