Friday, June 21, 2024

Nkana Bungle At Arrows To Hand Zesco A Lifeline


Zesco United on Saturday kept alive their very slim chances of retaining the FAZ Super Division title on the same day that Nkana failed to put them out of contention.

Both Zesco and Nkana were away in Lusaka to play a doubleheader at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka against Lusaka Dynamos and Red Arrows respectively.

In the lunchtime kickoff, Zesco left Lusaka with a precious 1-0 victory courtesy of a 40th minute own-goal by Paso Mayenge who turned in Jesse Were’s shot.

The result to saw Zesco end a six-match winless run stretching back to February 9 when they beat Mufulira Wanderers 2-0 away in Mufulira before drawing five and losing one of their subsequent fixtures.

Zesco rise to third on 46 points, two points behind leaders Napsa Stars and one points adrift of Nkana from 26 games played.

But Nkana failed to end the holders Zesco’s interest in the title race in the late kickoff after they battled from two-down to finish 2-2 against Arrows.

Joseph Phiri put Arrows ahead in the 1st minute before veteran James Chamanga continued to roll back the years with the with a superb right-footed shot on the near post in the 57th minute.

Chamanga could have added a second in a the 61th minute but sent his volley onto the right angle of the far right post although his fifteenth goal of the season ensured he stayed on course for the 2019/2020 golden boot with one round of matches left to play.

However, Nkana recovered thanks to two spectacular howlers by Arrows goalkeeper Ken Mumba who aided striker Idris Mbombo with a brace.

Mbombo struck in the 68th and later severely punished Mumba in the 74th in a scramble for the ball on the goalline that the goalkeeper spilt after a poor back-pass from Joseph Phiri and the Nkana striker with the faintest of touches ensured the ball crossed the line.

The Nkana striker takes his tally for the season to 14 goals and his third in the last two games.

And now, Zesco must beat Arrows on August 6 at home in Ndola and hope that Nkana falter against Nakambala Leopards.

Zesco will be particularly keeping an eye closer to home in Ndola in fourth placed Forest Rangers’ top-four dog-fight against Napsa.

Forest head into that match on 46 points and a win away in Kitwe on Monday against Power Dynamos will see them go top on 49 points.

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