By SANDRA MWILA –
at Nkoloma Stadium
Zanaco 1 Gabèsien 1
ZANACO coach Numba Mumamba was yesterday left frustrated after watching his side concede an away goal against Tunisian side Stade Gabèsien as the bankers now face an uphill battle to qualify for the CAF 2016 Confederation Cup group stages.
With the return leg of this second round encounter set for April 19, Zanaco will have to win or better the 1-all draw to advance to the group stages.
Mumamba said in a post match interview that he was disappointed with the result but was quick to say it was not the end of the world.
“Yes, I am disappointed with the result but it is not the end of the world as we can still beat them in Tunisia,” he said.
Zanaco scored first in the 25th minute through a Roderick Kabwe thunderbolt inside the box after finishing off a pass from Portipher Zulu, a goal that came after a Charles Zulu attempt was earlier blocked by Gabèsien goalkeeper Rebai Slim.
But failure to kill off the game after countless missed opportunities saw the visitor’s level matters in the 66th minute through Khttri Aymen who scored the all important away goal.
Aymen beat Zanaco captain Ziyo Tembo for pace before unleashing a shot inside the box and there was a scare in the dying minutes of the match for Zanaco as Hichem Sifi hit the post in the 90th minute.
Gabèsien coach Lassad Dridri said he was looking forward to finishing off Zanaco when they meet in the return leg.
“We prepared for us to score (away) and we did just that, the first leg is gone and we are now looking at forward to the next game,” he said.
Earlier in the match watched by a sizeable crowd, Kabwe missed a chance in the fourth minute when he shot wide at goal after he was setup by Charles, who dribbled past defender Aliou Cissie.
The visitors almost stunned the home side in the ninth minute when Sifi nearly scored but luckily his backheal flick that went through Kola’s legs was cleared just before crossing the goal line by defender Fackson Kapumbu.
Charles had a chance to score but hit the side netting in the 17th minute before Gabèsien hit the post through Khttri Aymen after dribbling past Tembo in the 36th minute while Racha Kola did well to save the rebound from Sifi.
Dave Daka could have doubled his side lead but hit the post in the 55th minute and the bankers were made to pay when Aymen equalised while efforts by Tembo to make amends were in vain as his goal off a Kampumbu pass was ruled offside.
The match was watched by Sports Minister Vincent Mwale, Sports Council of Zambia board member Smart Mwitwa and Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga.