Zesco face Wydad test… we’ve done our home work – Lwandamina
Published On June 29, 2016 » 2909 Views» By Davies M.M Chanda » Football, Sports
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By Kalumiana Kalumiana in Rabat, Morocco –
ZESCO United and Wydad Casablanca clash for top place in Group A of the CAF 2016 Champions League this evening in a midnight kickoff at Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah here.
The match will be live on SuperSport 9 with the buildup starting at 23:45 hours Zambian time.
Zesco head into the match leading Group A on 3 points following their stunning 3-2 home win over record eight-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt on June 18 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
George Lwandamina’s side is tied on three points with Wydad who won 1-0 on June 18 away to ASEC Mimosa in Abidjan.
The winner of this match-day-two fixture will go three points clear of the pack ahead of next month’s third round of matches on July 18.
The other Group A match between Al Ahly and ASEC was played by press time yesterday in Cairo in a 22:00 hours kickoff with both sides seeking their first league phase win.
Zesco head into the match facing another big test against another Arab side who were crowned champions in 1992.
Wydad are also unbeaten at home in continental competition since the defunct CAF Cup Winners Cup in 2003.
Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel were the last team to beat Wydad here 13 years ago, winning 1-0 in Casablanca to advance from the semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate on their way to being crowned the last champions of that competition.
Interestingly, Zesco will be the first Zambian club Wydad will play since that year when they beat Power Dynamos 1-0 in Casablanca in the quarterfinals to advance on away goals rule following a 2-1 loss at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
And so Zesco must now do what outgoing Champions League winners TP Mazembe have failed to do in two visits here, the latest being in April when Wydad beat them 2-0 eliminating them from the competition at the pre-group stage to relegate Rainford Kalaba’s team to the Confederation Cup.
“We have three points, it will be a tough match playing away from home but we have done our home work.
“It will be more psychological because the boys have matured enough to handle the Arabs, but the only difference is playing away from home though the boys are ready,” Lwandamina said.
Lwandamina welcomes back striker Jesse Were who has two goals in the competition after missing the Al Ahly game due to suspension.
Were’s return is a massive boost and eases pressure on attacking options for Lwandamina.
Defender and captain Ben Banh too returns from suspension and will reclaim his place in the back row.
However, Zesco’s joint top scorer in the champions league, Idris Mbombo remains sideline with injury.
Mbombo has four goals together with Cletus Chama who fired a brace in that victory over Al Ahly a fortnight ago.
Otherwise, Lwandamina should keep faith in the other regular starters who will be complemented by the duo’s return from suspension.
Meanwhile, Wydad coach and Liverpool legend John Toshack will be gunning for his third home win in the competition since the ex-Wales coach was appointed by the record Moroccan league champions in January who failed to collect a 14th title when they finished second this season behind FUS Rabat.
Wydad have conceded just one goal at home in three Champions League games at home this season under Toshack, scoring nine goals with the highlight being in that victory over Mazembe in April.
Toshack will be banking on the form of 21-year-old striker Rada Hajhouj who has scored six Champions League goals this season, including one each home and away against Mazembe.

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