Zesco United showed character of old today with an efficient display to beat Mighty Mufulira Wanderers 2-0 to make a marginal but important move into the top four.
But the defending champions had to dig very deep against a well organised Mighty who benefited from coach Tenant Chembo ‘s history with Zesco where he had spent over eight years on the benvh and won one league title as head coach in 2017.
Two late goals in the last six minutes of the second half handed Zesco their second league win in 2020 after five competitive defeats and a draw.
But Zesco could have gone into the break with a one – nil lead from the penalty spot hand referee Wisdom Chewe been eagle-eyed on Robson Phiri’s 12th minute foul on Tafadzwa Rusike.
Mighty ‘s best chance of the half came five minutes later when Ian Otieno saved a rocketing free kick from Joseph Chewe.
Zesco were later frustrated by the heroics of Mighty goalkeeper JoshuaTitima who kept out a Jesse Were header in the 56th minute and booming long rang volley from Rusike in the 69th minute.
But Titima could only do as much and Zesco stretched Mighty’s defence to end the hosts resistance.
Winston Kalengo beat Titima in the 84th after a one-two move between Mwila Phiri and John Chingandu to record his7th goal of the season.
Four minutes later, new boy John Makwatta tapped – in the ball to score his debut goal after a another one-two with Kenyan compatriot Were to end Chembo ‘s unbeaten start after two draws heading into todays loss.
The result sees the eight-time champions complete a league double over the nine-time champions whom they also beat 2-0 in Ndola Independence Day, October 24.
The defending champions are now just two points behind leaders Green Eagles from 19 and 20 games played respectively with thirteen matches overall left for the rest of the pack.
Zesco shift from 5th to 4th on 38 points and have been beaten to number three by their Ndola rivals Forest Rangers on 39 points who beat Nakambala Leopards 3-1 away in Mazabuka.
The irony of it all is Forest’s goals came from Zesco rejects Quadri Kola and Adams Zikiru who scored a brace to take his tally to 9 goals.
Lubinda Mundia struck for third from bottom Nakambala.
And in the big Midlands derby showdown at Sunset Stadium in Lusaka, Zanaco and Kabwe Warriors traded blows before the hosts knocked out the latter 3-2.
Lassa Kiala put Zanaco ahead in the 6th minute but Jimmy Ndhlovu equaliezed in the 24th minute to see them go into halftime level.
Belchance Makiese put Zanaco back on top in the 48th minute but Warriors replied in the 73rd minute through Ali Sadiki.
It took a stoppage time Rodgers Kola goal to ensure Zanaco stayed unbeaten in the league under Chris Kaunda for a fourth game on the trot with a maximum haul of 12 points to jump from 14th to 11th on 25 points, six points behind 8th placed Warriors after 21 games played.
Kola takes his tally to 9 goals, tied with Warriors’ Jimmy Ndhlovu,two goals behind leaders James Chamanga and Were.