Lushomo Mweemba scored the fastest goal at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and Barbra Banda added the 1,000th goal in tournament history, as tournament newcomer Zambia earned its first-ever win with a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica on Monday.
The victory sent Zambia home from its first World Cup on an emotional high. Both teams had already been eliminated from the knockout stage before the match.
The Copper Queens’ opening goal, the first in their history, came after just 2 minutes and 11 seconds off Avell Chitundu’s corner kick. Mweemba lofted a volley into the roof of the net over goalkeeper Daniela Solera.
Banda scored the milestone goal in the 31st minute on a penalty kick. The referee gave the penalty after the 23-year-old striker appeared to be taken down in the box by Katherine Alvarado.
The referee handed out five yellow cards and called a total of 30 fouls in the fast-paced match.
In the 47th minute, Melissa Herrera knocked a cross over the line with her chest for Costa Rica’s lone goal. Costa Rica later saw both a potential penalty and a goal taken away by offsides calls.
More than 8,000 spectators were at Waikato Stadium, which holds 18,009.
Zambia wasted no time against Costa Rica, scoring its first-ever tournament goal just 131 seconds into the match. Mweemba’s one-timer changed the momentum of the match as the Copper Queens controlled much of the first half and got their second goal on Banda’s penalty.
Rachael Kundananji sealed the victory three minutes into injury time. Banda’s through ball set up the forward, who scored easily.
Why it matters
Zambia returns home having won a match in its first appearance at the Women’s World Cup. It ended the tournament in third place of Group C with three points.
Las Ticas are still in search of their first World Cup win after failing to get a victory both this year and in 2015, their only other appearance.
In their own words
“I was confident, but at the same time I was nervous, but I just had to have courage because I was carrying thousands of people back home so it was an honour for me,” Banda said about her penalty kick.
“We knew yesterday it was going to be an open match, a hard match, and those who made fewer mistakes won the match,” Costa Rica coach Amelia Valverde said.
Zambia’s next match is scheduled for Oct. 23 against Mali in the second round of Olympic qualifiers.
Costa Rica bounces out of its second Women’s World Cup in fourth place in the group.