• ZESCO United striker Idriss Mbombo (right) goes for goal under pressure from Le Messager Ngozi defender during yesterday’s CAF Confederation Cup match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
By NDINAWE SIMPELWE at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium -
Zesco 2-0 Le Messager
ZESCO United started their 2017 CAF Confederation Cup with a home win over Le Messager Ngozi of Burundi in the first leg first round though coach Zlatko Krempotic admitted the tie still remained on a balance.
Playing their first competitive game since their stellar 2016 season on the continent, Zesco was far from their best but were lucky as the visitors offered little to threaten the home side.
The pitch at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium was not in good state as it was used the previous night in the CAF under 20 Africa Cup Championship semi-final between Senegal and Guinea and this made play a bit difficult for either side.
But it was Zesco who were more offensive with Jesse Were testing the goalkeeper in the second minute, Idris Mbombo also shot straight at the goalkeeper in the 14th minute before Jackson Mwanza ballooned his effort four minutes later.
But in the 31st minute, Jackson Mwanza turned his marker before powering his way into the box to score the opener which stood even when the teams went to the half-time break.
In the second-half, Zesco were forced to make substitute Simon Silwimba who limped off and was replaced by Dauti Musekwa.
This did not daunt Zesco who continued piling the pressure on the Le Messager and Mbombo scored in the 64th minute but the goal to be wrongly waved back for offside.
Zesco coach Zlatko Krempotic introduced new signing Dave Daka for Mbombo and the youngster showed promise on his debut but it was Kondwani Mtonga who sealed the victory after Le Messager goalkeeper parried the ball into his path from the corner kick.
Krempotic said the tie was still in the balance despite the win saying Le Messager had the capacity to reverse the score in the return leg in a week’s time.
Le Messager coach Momcilo Medic said Zesco was a good side and deserved to win yesterday but that he would go back reorganise and try to reverse the result at home.