Zambia’s 2018 super league champions ZESCO United beat AS Sonidep of Niger 2-1 away from home on Tuesday evening in a 2018/2019 CAF Champions League first round, first leg tie played in Niamey.
Sonidep being hosts did not take long to settle as compared to ZESCO, and enjoyed better possession with dull attacking action all thanks to ZESCO’s prolific defender Jacob Banda. ZESCO however seemed more dangerous in front.
As ZESCO settled, Lazarous Kambole shot over the bar after a round off of the goalkeeper inside the the 18 box. Before Sonidep defenders could recover from Kambole’s scare, Jesse Were’s shot got denied by the goalkeeper thereby disturbing the hosts’ defence. But it remained goalless as the two teams went into break.
Ghanaian striker Rahim Osumanu scored from Enock Sabumukama’s assist on his ZESCO debut in the 75th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The goal was followed by Sonidep’s wasted chance by Amadou Mahamadou who blasted way over the bar.
Sonidep however equalized through their substsitute Koffi Dognon in the 78th minute, leaving matters levelled up before hardworking Lazarous Kambole found the back of the net in the 86th minute. ZESCO held on to the 2-1 lead up to full time.
ZESCO United Coach George ‘chicken’ Lwandamina despite having won served Niger journalist drama as he refused to have an English interpreter during his post match interview. His argument was that he wanted to level up with Sonidep coach whose interview was not interpreted to English.
After minutes of liaising with one of his officials, Lwandamina agreed to have an interpreter.
Back in Zambia, Green Eagles handed Young Buffaloes of eSwatini a 2-0 defeat at Independence stadium in Choma in the ZNS side’s debut continental games. While the match was beautifully graced by fans, fans got graced by rains, but the soccer lovers endured until full time.
Buffaloes created more chances in the first half than Eagles but could not find the back of the net. The second half was equally a balance of attempts but got Eagles’ Amity Shamenda red carded in his defending efforts.
The ZNS side however stayed focused and managed to beat the visitors despite being one man down. The goals came from Edward Mwamba in the 61st minute and Jonathan Manongo in the 90th minute respectively.