Zanaco on Saturday rallied to beat Napsa Stars 2-1 to end their Barclays Cup jinx in a dramatic final that went to extra –time at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
Perennial Barclays Cup campaigners Zanaco came into the game having never failed to qualify for the competition but had never won it prior to this year.
But Zanaco earned it the hard way against 2012 winners Napsa Stars who had held them twice to 0-0 and 1-1 draws earlier in league meetings this season.
Both sides had opportunities in the first half that finished scoreless to take a stranglehold on the match.
Defender George Chilufya and striker Felix Nyaende came close for Zanaco in the 12th and 22nd minutes respectively but their efforts went wide.
But it was Napsa who fired the first real warning shot in the 25th minute when Youremember Banda saw his effort from a tight angle parried on the near post by Zanaco goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata.
And it was again Banda who broke the deadlock in the 46th minute when he nodded-in Chitoshi Mukuma’s cross.
Napsa then went on to dominate proceedings as Zanaco’s memories of final failures rushed back to haunt them.
However, Napsa defender Derrick Mwnasa handed Zanaco a lifeline when he brought down Charles Zulu in the area in the 84th minute and referee Jan Sikazwe pointed to the spot.
Nyaende took the brave step up and sent Napsa goalkeeper Bola Masosa the wrong way and pushed the match into extra- time.
Extra-time then fuelled Zanaco’s belief and they were all over Napsa.
Zanaco got the magic goal in the 108th minute through veteran midfielder Isaac Chansa who headed –in Zulu’s cross to see the Bankers breathe a massive sigh of relief after breaking their Barclays Cup drought.
Mumamba Numba’s side now turns its focus back on defending the league title with an eye on a 2017 double.
Zanaco currently lead the table on 60 points, four points ahead of 2ndplaced Green Buffaloes with six matches left to play.