Zesco United toiled to a 2-2 home draw against Green Buffaloes on Wednesday to bounce back from their first competitive defeat of the 2017 season.
Zesco fought back to earn a point at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, a week after they were beaten 1-0 away by Napsa Stars to suffer their first league loss of the season.
But it took until the last 20 minutes of the second half for Zesco to redeem themselves at home.
Zesco were even second best chasing Buffaloes throughout the first half after coach Zlatko Krmpotic rested key players Ben Banh,Kondwani Mtonga and Jesse Were for Saturday’s continental engagements.
The gamble failed to payoff as Marcel Kalonda in defence, Misheck Chaila in midfield and Lazarus Kambole in attack were off-tune.
Buffaloes then wounded Zesco when Brian Mwila put the visitors ahead in the 11th minute and Diamond Chikwekwe added the second in the 26th minute.
It got worse for Zesco in the 38th minute when John Chingandu fired wide a penalty before the host limped into the break 2-0 down.
Krmpotic then took off Fackson Kapumbu, Chalia and Kambole for Banh, Kondwani and Were in the 46th minute.
But a minute after making the triple sub’s, Krmpotic was sent to the stands by referee Derrick Kafuli.
The good news is his changes made the difference and in the 72nd minute Were’s cross was met by Banh on the far post who nodded-in Zesco’s first goal.
Idris Mbombo almost equalised in the 81st minute as Zesco piled the pressure but Sydney Lombe cleared the ball of the line.
Kafuli then added six extra minutes and deep into the 5th minute, defender David Owino popped up to head in Chingandu corner to even matters.
Zesco now regroup with less pressure when they hosts Smouha of Egypt this Saturday in both sides opening Group C match at the Levy in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.