Zesco Fall To A Narrow Defeat To Determined Royal Leopards
Solomon Sakala’s embarrassing own goal condemned Zesco United to a 1-0 loss to Royal Leopard at the Mabuso Sports Ground on Saturday evening.
The Ingwe Emabalabala dominated the match from the start with Sifiso Matse looking dangerous for the home side.
The skillful forward beat four Zesco defenders before forcing goalkeeper Ian Otieno into a good save 12 minutes into the game.
The visitors had the first chance to go ahead in the 14th minute after Jese Were delivered a vicious cross at the near post but Winston Kalengo’s diving header missed just wide.
Edwin Matsebula’s charges were having the momentum and Dlamini posed danger on the half-hour mark after getting past Simon Silwimba inside the box and curled a cross towards the far post but Ncamiso made a great save, parrying his effort away.
Kelvin Kampamba was unlucky not to break the deadlock for Zesco just before the break with a free-kick that bent over the wall but rattled the top corner of the crossbar and the sides went to the break goalless.
Adrian Chama came close to breaking the deadlock for Zesco in the 58th minute after cutting inside on the edge of the box and curled a powerful strike at goal that was acrobatically parried away by goalkeeper Dlamini.
Royal Leopard eventually went ahead two minutes later after Famelo latched onto a long ball over the top and dribbled his way towards the byline and made a cross that Sakala fumbled into his own goal.
Mumba Munamba reacted by making a tactical change in the last seven minutes, as attacker Chitiya Mususu came on for Kelvin Kapamba and Chama came close to snatching the equaliser in stoppage time with a toe-poke across goal that was parried away by Dlamini with Fackson Kapumbu lurking at the back post.
In the end, Matsebula’s held on to a narrow win 1-0 win ahead of the return leg match set to be played at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium next Saturday.
The winner aggregate winner between Zesco and Leopards will play either GD Sagrada Esperanca of Angola or Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum in the pre-group stage.