Zesco United reclaimed top spot of the MTN/FAZ premier division after a hard-fought 2-2 home draw with Green Buffaloes at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The five-time champions moved to 11 points, tied with Lumwana Radiants whom they displaced from the summit on goal difference, although the latter could reclaim that position this Saturday when they visit Nakambala Leopards in Mazabuka.
But Zesco made a mess to also redeem themselves from their first loss in 2017 five days ago when they were beaten 1-0 away by Napsa Stars in Lusaka.
Zesco were second best against Buffaloes in the first half that saw the visitors take a deserved 2-0 halftime lead thanks to goals from Brian Mwila in the 11th minute and Diamond Chikwekwe in the 26th minute.
The homeside poor first half was highlighted by their missed penalty in the 38th minute that John Chingandu fired wide.
However,coach Zlatko Krmpotic made a triple substitution at halftime time when he brought on three key players he had initially decided to rest for this weekend’s 2017 CAF Confederation Cup obligations.
Defender Ben Banh,midfielder Kondwani Mtonga and striker Jesse Were were summoned back to action after the break when they replaced Fackson Kapumbu, Misheck Chaila and Lazarus Kambole.
The changes did pay off but not before some more drama from Zesco when Krmpotic was sent off in the 47th minute by referee Derrick Kafuli for something he uttered to 4th official Leah Namukonda.
Despite that sideshow, Zesco improved and cut Buffaloes lead in the 72nd minute when Banh headed in a cross from Were.
The home side denied Buffaloes the three points when Owino scored his second decisive stoppage time equalizer this season when he headed in Chingandu’s corner 4 minutes into the mysterious six minutes of extra
Wednesday’s result also eased the pressure on Zesco heading into this Saturday’s 2017 CAF Confederation Cup Group C opening game against Smouha of Egypt at at the same venue.