MULWANDA LUPIYA, Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola ZESCO 1 SMOUHA 0
ZESCO United coach Zlatko Krmpotic has described yesterday’s win over Egyptian side Smouha in the Confederation Cup group stage as a big win.
Prior to the Group C match, Zesco drew two and lost once in the Super Division.
“Big win for us and congratulations to our opponents. We had a lot of chances but we managed to score from a penalty, which was 100 percent clear penalty,” Krmpotic said.
But Smouha coach Moamen Soliman said Zesco’s victory was aided by Ghanaian referee Cecil Fleischer.
“Congratulations to Zesco. They are the giants of Africa but they didn’t need assistance from the referee [Fleischer].We faced 12 players and not 11. If we lose like this, there is nothing I can do,” Soliman said.
The two coaches argued during a post-match interview at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Zesco had to wait until the 73rd minute to shake the net.
Midfielder John Ching’andu’s cross hit Smouha defender Patrick Malo’s hand and referee Fleischer pointed to the spot.
Striker Jesse Were scored from the spot sending goalkeeper Abougabal in the wrong direction.
It was Were’s third goal in the Confederation Cup.
The teams created a number of chances but had difficulties to convert them.
Zesco were the first to threaten when Dave Daka unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box that went wide in the sixth minute.
Smouha had a chance to take the lead on 17 minutes when Malo’s cross found unmarked Ahmed Adam but he directed his header wide.
Zesco forward Idris Mbombo almost broke the deadlock after benefiting from a Were pass but his shot was deflected for a corner in the 31st minute.
But Zesco’s best chance came in the 43rd minute when Daka failed to make a touch to Were’s cross.
Smouha started the second-half on a fast note with Mahmoud Hussein firing his shot wide in the 49th minute with only Banda to beat.
The Egyptians again came close to scoring on 65 minutes but Islam Mohareb’s powerful shot hit the upright after dribbling past Dauti Musekwa.
Were broke the deadlock when he converted from the spot in the 73rd minute after Malo was adjudged to have handled.
Zesco will travel to Sudanese outfit Al Hilal el Obeid on May 24 while Smouha host Recreativo Desportivo of Angola.