Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Zesco United Booted out of CAF Confederation Cup

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Zesco United are out of continental football on the first hurdle for a second successive season following their elimination from the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Zambian club was held to a 1-1 home draw in Ndola at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola by Royal AM of South Africa in a second round final leg tie.

Zesco who were on bye in the first round bow out on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate result.

It is unprecedented for Zesco who hold a Zambian record six group stage appearances who have never made back to back exits on the first hurdle.

But Zesco started the first half on a promising note and in the 9th minute, Royal AM goalkeeper Zakahle Ngcobo made two quickfire saves parrying Collins Sikombe ‘s initial shot into Chanda Mukuka’s path and saved the subsequent rebound.

Three minutes later Ngcobo was back on duty this time denying Kelvin Mubanga .

Sikombe broke the deadlock in the 31st minute when he startled Ngcobo with a long range shot.

But Royal AM were unlucky not to have gone into the break level in the 39th minute when an unmarked Mxolisi Macuphu watched in shock as his shot rolled wide of the far post.

However, Royal got the goal they needed in the 58th minute when Zesco goalkeeper Ian Otieno made a school boy error.

The Kenyan International collected a back-pass from Samson Mkandawire and referee Oman Artan of Somalia gave the visitors the free kick.

Ruzaigh Gamildien who came on at the start of the second half dispatched the free kick adding more pressure on Otieno who was not spared of vitriol from the Zesco fans.

From then on, Royal just managed the game while Zesco stuttered to the final whistle unconvincing as they have been in their opening six league games of the season.

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