VICTOR KUMWENDA, Lusaka
LIBOLO 3 ZESCO 0
ZESCO United suffered what could be a crushing blow to their ambitions of advancing to the Confederation Cup quarter-finals when they lost to unfancied Angolan side Recreativo do Libolo at Municipal Calulo Stadium yesterday.
The defeat left Zesco on six points, at par with Libolo, who have a better goal aggregate, but may have fallen to near-basement if there was victory in the match between Egyptian side Smouha and Al Hilal Ubayyid of Sudan later yesterday. The two had four points each.
Libolo have scored four and conceded three while Zesco have netted twice and allowed four in four games.
Zesco were blown away in the last 23 minutes and face the prospect of exiting the competition if they fail to win the last two games against Smouha and Al Hilal.
Hemelin Boukama-Kaya netted a brace while Fabricio Simoes contributed the other goal to keep alive the Angolans’ chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Kaya opened his account nine minutes into the match with a screamer from outside, beating goalkeeper Jacob Banda.
Kaya doubled the advantage from a rebound in the 67th minute and Simoes completed the rout from the spot in the 78th minute against an incredibly porous defence and profligate strike force.
Democratic Republic of Congo referee Jean Jacques Ndala Ngambo pointed to the spot after defender Dauti Musekwa fouled Ezekiel Julioa.
Zesco coach Zlatko Krmpotic started with Banda while Musekwa, Fackson Kapumbu, Ben Bahn and David Odhiambo were in defence.
Misheck Chaila, Simon Silwimba, Dave Daka and John Ching’andu were in midfield while Idris Mbombo partnered Jackson Mwanza upfront.
The Serbian introduced Lazarus Kambole and Patrick Kongolo for Ching’andu and Mwanza, respectively.
Zesco thrived in the traditional 4-4-2 formation but wasted a myriad of chances through topman and culprit-in-chief Idriss Mbombo.
Ching’andu, Mwanza, Mbombo and Kapumbu squandered sure chances in a game the Ndola side could have comfortably won long before half-time.
Zesco travel to Smouha next Friday before concluding the group stage campaign with a clash against Al Hilal on July 7 in Ndola.
The Zambians have been bad travellers as they have not won away from home in the four outings.