Shepolopolo were denied their debut Olympic victory on Saturday by a very fortunate 10-man China to finish 4-4 in a match Zambia rallied from three-one down in their penultimate Group F match played at Miyagi Stadium in Rifu.
China started brightly and took a three-one lead in the opening thirty minutes of the match through Wang Shuang who fired in a first half hat-trick in the 6th, 22nd and 23rd minutes.
But Rachel Kundananji, who missed Wednesdays 10-3 loss to Holland after arriving late from her Kazakh base, squeezed in Zambia’s opening goal with a 15th minute header.
Kundananji them won a 41st minute penalty that Barbara Banda converted to see the Shepolopolo captain score her first goal en route to her second successive Olympic hat-trick as Zambia headed into the break narrowly trailing 3-2.
Banda completed her hat-trick in the 46th and 69th minutes and on both occasions out-paced China’s defence to set another milestone as the first African woman to score two hat-tricks in one Olympics.
But Zambia let China back into the match in the 82nd minute through a Lushomo Mweemba handball in the box and Shuang stepped up to convert the penalty.
Banda was then denied a chance of scoring the winning goal for Zambia when she was pulled down by Li Qingting outside the box as she raced in with a clear opportunity to earn the three points for Shepolopolo.
But Shepolopolo also had goalkeeper Hazel Nali to thank in stoppage time when she put her body on the line to deny Shuang her fourth goal and victory for China.
Zambia and China are tied on 1 point each heading into Tuesdays final Group F match against Brazil and Holland respectively who were in action by press time.