Spoils shared in Switzerland’s six-goal thriller

With both sides looking to build momentum ahead of their respective FIFA Women’s World Cup campaigns, Switzerland welcomed Zambia to the Tissot Arena on Friday. A crowd of 2,542 made their way through the turnstiles, keen to see the Swiss secure another victory.

SUI: Peng; Maritz, Stierli, Bühler, Calligaris; Mauron; Crnogorčević, Bachmann, Reuteler; Terchoun, Lehmann

ZAM: Nali; Tembo, Mweemba, Musase, Belemu; Katongo, S. Banda, Chanda; Mapepa, B. Banda, Kundananji

Switzerland got off to a bright start in front of the home faithful, as Ana-Maria Crnogorčević opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock. The Barça star had a simple finish to make after receiving Ramona Bachmann’s pass inside the area, but waited to draw out the Zambian ‘keeper before finding the back of the net with an audacious chipped effort.

The hosts’ lead lasted just five minutes though, as Grace Chanda slotted the ball under the diving arms of Livia Peng. Racheal Kundananji’s assist was sublime, as the forward drifted out towards the left flank in order to open up space centrally for her midfield teammate to level the tie.

Barba Banda fired Zambia into the lead in the 20th minute, completing a mazy run with a classy finish after misguiding Julia Stierli. The Chipolopolo had certainly done well to put themselves ahead just twelve minutes after Crnogorčević’s opener – but with the majority of the match still to play, the action was far from over.

Barbra Banda was involved once more for her side just before the break. Deep into stoppage time, the striker nodded a corner on towards Racheal Kundananji – and the Madrid CFF star never looked to falter. Her effort took a slight deflection off Noëlle Maritz; Livia Peng wasn’t able to make the save despite getting her palm to the ball.

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Zambia had showed incredible resilience to take their 3-1 lead into the break, having trailed after just eight minutes. But less than ten minutes into the second half, Switzerland reduced the deficit as Iman Beney found Seraina Piubel inside the penalty area. Piubel’s finish was simple but effective, with an attempted goal-line clearance from Martha Tembo only steering the ball further from Hazel Nali’s grasp.

Noëlle Maritz was at the heart of the action once more within the final ten minutes, as Switzerland bagged a late equaliser to ensure the shares would be spoiled. A deft pass picked out Coumba Sow, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net past Catherine Musonda – who had replaced Hazel Nail just moments earlier.

Questions will undoubtedly be raised as to whether Sow’s late strike was potentially offside, but with no VAR in operation, we must take the result at face value. These two sides both showed excellent character throughout the match, and will fancy their chances of progressing from their respective groups this summer. Switzerland are back in action on July 5 as they host Morocco, while Zambia’s final friendly ahead of the World Cup will come against Germany on July 7.

DISCLAIMER: The images used within this article are not from Switzerland v Zambia. No images from the game have been made publicly available at the time of publishing.

FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.

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