Abebaw Butaco is booked for time-wasting but the Ethiopians won't be too perturbed as the Antelopes record an hard-fought draw with the AFCON champions.
Menyahel Teshome is personally escorted off the pitch by the referee has the Ethiopians look to wind down the clock.
Sunzu pushing forward as the Copper Bullets throw everything at the Antelopes, who've brought almost everyone back in defence.
Flags up on Muyaka as he dashes forward down the left and tries to cut the ball across the face of goal.
Mukuka Mulenga plays it short from the free-kick on the right for Sinkala, but he fluffs his shot from out in front. Have Zambia just blown their chance to win it?
Flag up early on Mbesuma as he tries to burst into the box onto a good ball forward.
Mayuka turns and tries to shoot inside the box with his first touch of the ball, but his effort's blocked, with Mulenga shot on the rebound of no use either.
Renard makes it a three-man strike attack with the introduction of Emmanuel Mayuka for skipper Katongo.
Tempting ball forward for Jacob Mulenga from Lungu, but the linesman's flag is up even if the former got on the end of it instead of Tadelle.
Despite being a man down, the Antelopes aren't laying down and are throwing everything at the Copper Bullets.
As the match enters the final ten minutes, the atmosphere on and off the field has risen another notch with the reigning champions desperate to come away with a win from their opening encounter.
Shot from Mbesuma inside the box forces Tadelle to push the ball wide of his goal with a low stop.
Chansa earns a break to be replaced by Zambia's player of the year, Mukuka Mulenga.
Lungu with the right idea, threading the ball through for Mulenga, but the ball is just to long for the replacement.
Mulenga beats his marker to pop his header just over the crossbar, the Antelopes' defence non-existent.
The match has opened up now with Said sending in a teasing ball from the left for Grima racing into the box, but Mween cuts off the delivery.
Mweene not troubled by an Ethiopian free-kick from deep.
Mbesuma picks up a caution for simulation after the burly forward goes down a little too easily inside the danger area.
Lungu keeps going, making his way to the edge of the area, but his brought dispossessed just short. But having relinquished their lead, the Zambians are employing siege tactics and send wave after wave of attack.
The crowd come alive as Ethiopia are right back in the game after Adane Grima converts at the near post off Said's pass.
Ethiopia make their second change, bringing midfielder Addis Hintsa for Kebede.
Zambia holding strong in the middle of the park as Ethiopia look for some sort of opening,
After an impressive performance down the left for Chipolopolo, Musonda comes off for Jacob Mulenga.
Katongo fails to see Kalaba open on his right and goes for goal - off-target - after some bustling play inside the area from Mbesuma.
Mbesuma fires off from range, the Orlando Pirates hitman clearly looking to repay his coach's faith in starting him with another goal.
Zambia pushing their way forward with verve and determination, with Katongo's deflected chance on goal earning his side a corner-kick. Alas, nothing comes from the set-piece on the left or Kalaba's shot on the rebound.
Chansa doesn't get any power behind his free-kick from range and Tadelle can calmly watches as the ball misses his goalposts.
Chansa is back up on his feet, much to the Zambian fans' relief, after the playmaker took a knock to the head going for the ball.
Long range effort from the right by Getaneh Kebede is well off the mark.
Ball into the middle of the box for Katongo from Chansa fails to find the man, but the Antelopes' defence is being tested at the moment.
Ethiopia look to catch Zambia on the counter, but the ball forward for Said is cleared.
Copper Bullets look to strike early, Katongo looking to whip in a ball form the right for Mbesuma to try and get on the end of, but it's too long and finds Tadelle.
The second half is underway!
The first half draws to a close with Zambia taking the lead just before the break, a deflated Ethiopia with a mountain to climb after the restart.
Classy goal from Chipolopolo as Mbesuma finishes off to the left of Tadelle, latching onto Chansa's excellent touch-on into the 18-yard area, chesting the ball down before cooly slotting home.
Musonda goes into the book for a sloppy challenge.
Zambia breakaway down the right through Kalaba, but his cross into the box is dealt with by the last line of defence.
Mweene does well in dealing with a long-range free-kick from Ethiopia as the Antelopes have to resort to Hail Mary tactics with a man down.
Himonda does well to hack the ball clear as a 10-man Ethiopia look to catch Zambia napping with a fast-break.
The action back underway, Kalaba comes close to sneaking in a goal for Chipolopolo from the free-kick spot, his effort edging off to the left of the far post with Tadelle nowhere in sight.
Zerihun Tadelle finally takes to the field with Shimeles Bekele coming off.
Unsavoury scenes in Nelspruit as bottles and litter is thrown onto the field by disgruntled Ethiopian supporters.
Remarkable, as the referee brandishes a red to Tessew as he is being stretched off the field and just like that the Antelopes are down to ten men.
Play has ground to a halt as the medical staff attend to Tessew, although the 'keeper may receive his marching orders for his kung-fu clearance on Lungu.
Free-kick, again, to Copper Bullets, as Tessew and Lungu collide outside the box as the latter to tried chip past the shot-stopper as the former bravely came to deny the Zambian.
Hijani Himoonda's free-kick from out in front skims through the ball and Katongo chases hard to pounce on the rebound, but Jemal Tassew comes out quick enough to cover.
Great skill from Said to weave his way past two defenders on the left to create himself space to shoot, but his effort is mediocre to say the least, and his latter chance goes the same way, wide of the mark.
Nathan Sinkala with a wasteful effort on goal from outside the area for the Copper Bullets.
Mweene lives up to his reputation as a fine shot-stopper, making the telling save to his left to deny Said.
The referee points to the spot after Said is brought down in the area by a yellow-carded Chisamba Lungu after a great break from the Antelopes.
Rainford Kalaba's cross into the box from the right finds an ummarked Katongo, but thinking he may be flagged offsides, doesn't put any real power behind his header on goal.
Musonda really looking to make his presence felt down the left for Zambia, making the runs and looking to provide the defence splitting pass for his team-mates.
Unbelievable, as Said's pop over Mweene bounces short of the goal-line and then over the crossbar, after Sunzu's clearance was miscued and allowed the Ethiopian attacker to try and embarrass the defence.
Joseph Musonda bursts down the left wing before looking for Katongo in the box, but the back-four hold their line and hack the pass clear. Moments later, and Isaac Chansa fancies his chance from out in front, but his shot flies high and wide.
Sunzu does well to clear the danger after Ethiopia push up in earnest and deliver the ball into the box from the left flank through Said.
Sunzu earns the first booking of the match after a late challenge on Saladine Said.
Zambia look to consolidate the possession at the back, passing the ball around with effort to push up, much to the Antelopes' fans disapproval.
The Copper Bullets with much of the attacking play and possession as they look to force the opener.
Katongo, again, this time latching on to a through ball form the left win, but not getting enough on his shot to trouble the 'keeper.
Christopher Katongo pushes up for the second time in the match, but the Ethiopian defence is wise to the Bullets attacker and close him down early on.
Kennedy Mweene calls his troops together as the Zambian defence looked a little lacklustre in defending the set-piece.
Ethiopian fans go wild as their team pushes up and earns the first corner-kick of the match.
Stophira Sunzu with a left-footed shot from way out that comes nervously close to goal.
The match is underway!
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Ethiopia are rated at 5/1 to beat Zambia today according to our friends at Sky Bet, while it is 5/2 for the match to end in a draw. Collins Mbesuma is 4/1 to score first, while Chris Katongo is 8/1 to score a brace. Also, Zambia are 14/1 to retain their AFCON title.
The Walias Antelopes, meanwhile, defeated Niger 1-0 before holding Tunisia to 1-1 draw in warm-up matches leading up to the competition. Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw has no injury worries from his squad that is largely made up of domestic-based players.
The Copper Bullets, who defeated Ivory Coast on penalties last year to claim their first AFCON title, were drawn in Group C which also includes Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Leading up to their AFCON opener, Zambia lost to Tanzania and Angola before being held to a draw by Morocco. Chipolopolo coach Herve Renard has a fully-fit team to choose from following the return of midfielder Rainford Kalaba, who had been suffering from a groin injury. The Frenchman has selected 19 members of the team that conquered their more illustrious opponents in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Good day, I'm Devin Hermanus and I'll be taking you through all the action as Zambia face Ethiopia in their Group C clash at the Mbombela Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 1500 BST.