By SAMUEL LUKHANDA at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium –
Zesco 1 Swallows 1
ZESCO United coach George Lwandamina was left to rue first half missed opportunities as Mbabane Swallows came from behind to claim a share of the spoils as both sides picked up a point in the 2018 Total CAF Champions League Group D match played in Ndola.
“We would have won the game in the first half. We started the game on a good note. We showed intention that we wanted to win and we created scoring opportunities but unfortunately it’s not every chance you create can be converted into a goal,” said Lwandamina in the aftermath of the draw.
David Owino Odhambo gave Zesco the lead but Mangaliso Shongwe came off the bench to level the scores and ensure his side got a point away from home.
Lwandamina said Zesco was a better side on the wet and cold afternoon in a match that promised much but had anticlimax ending, just like the weather on the day.
Swallows coach Thabo Vilakati was left happy to have escaped with a draw after the Birds were put under intense pressure for the larger parts of the game in their debut appearance in the group stage.
“Our strategy worked well especially in the first half. We absorbed the pressure and after they got their goal. We pushed forward and equalised,” said Vilakati whose side sat back for long stretches of the match.
The Zesco attackers wasted a lot of opportunities while the Swallows did not have a single shot on goal the entire first half in a frantic start to the game.
The home side took the game to the visitors and dictated play in the flanks with Jesse Jackson Were and John Chingandu but could not find the back of the net.
First it was Chingandu in the fifth minute whose shot was kept out by Wintone Kalengo and seconds later Lazarous Kambole was one-on-one with the goalkeeper only to pull his shot wide.
Chingandu again was found with space inside the box but hesitated and his shot was blocked for a corner and Kalengo was found with a well weighted ball from Simon Silwimba only for him to sweep it over as Zesco pilled pressure.
Fackson Kapumbu was found lurking in the box from a set piece and he blasted over as the half wind down.
It was their Kenya centre half Odihambo whose glancing header from a Chingandu corner kick gave the hosts the lead in the 64th minute to cheer up the home crowd as the rains came down.
But the visitors found some belief and asked questions of the host who looked shaky and their captain Tony Thulani Tsabedze put in a delicious ball for substitute Shongwe to nod home as Jacob Banda slipped to restore parity.
Meanwhile, the other group match which pitted Primero de Agosto against Tunisian side Etoile Sportif du Sahel last night in Luanda also ended in 1 all draw.