Barbra Banda scored her second hat-trick in consecutive games as Zambia came from 3-1 down to play out an entertaining 4-4 draw with China in their Group F match at the Miyagi Stadium in Miyagi on Saturday.
Wang Shuang opened the scoring for China in just the sixth minute but Rachel Kundananji leveled for Zambia nine minutes later.
China should have taken the lead in the 18th minute but Wang Shanshan’s effort was ruled out for offside. However, two strikes from Wang Shuang in the next five minutes, both set up by Wang Shanshan, gave China what appeared to be a commanding lead midway through the first half.
Zambia appeared to be on their way to another crushing defeat but Banda reduced the deficit with a penalty three minutes before halftime.
Kundananji then set up Banda to equalize for the Copper Queens a minute after the restart. The Zambian captain then completed her hat-trick midway through the second half to give her side a stunning 4-3 lead.
Banda had also scored thrice in Zambia’s 10-3 defeat to the Netherlands in their opening game in what was the highest scoring match in women’s Olympics football since it made its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The 21-year-old had made history by becoming the first female African player to score three goals at a Games.
However, China fought back and got a deserved equalizer with seven minutes of normal time to play when Wang Shuang converted a penalty to make it 4-4.
The result leaves China and Zambia in third and fourth respectively in their group ahead of their final matches against the Netherlands and Brazil respectively.