‘‘SENSATIONAL’’ Zanaco yesterday maintained their unbeaten run against Mighty Mufulira Wanderers via a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Shinde stadium, to pile more pressure on the hosts who have only managed one win this season.
The game started on a slow note with Wanderers failing to impose their attack-minded approach, allowing the visitors take control of the early exchanges.
Wanderers made their intentions known as early as the first minute after Austin Banda’s dazzling run forced Taonga Bwembya into making a panicky clearance within his area but goal keeper Toaster Nsabata managed the situation well.
Banda again launched another assault on the Zanaco defence by pouncing on a loose ball, beat his marker, but his final touch lacked power and precision and was easily picked up by Nsabata.
The two teams had hardly settled down when Alan Kamwanga Jnr was booked by Jan Sikazwe for a late challenge from behind on Charles Zulu who reacted angrily but the resultant near-fracas was quelled by quick intervention from Zulu’s teammates and the referee.
‘Mighty’ seemed to have found their feet as they relentlessly knocked on the doors of their visitors with Mike Katiba coming close to scoring the opener six minutes later after a decent workout by Wanderers outside the 18-yard box but Katiba’s effort went soaring over the bar.
Wanderers’ real chance to break the deadlock came in the 12th minute when a good interchange of passes among the strikers picked up Joseph Kasongo on the edge of the box who in turn eluded Ziyo Tembo’s challenge but Nsabata reached the ball before he could unleash a shot.
Zanaco took the lead through a Ziyo header from Rodrick Kabwe’s corner kick with 24 minutes played, before Kabwe scored three minutes before the end of the first half.
Zanaco came back from the break more rejuvenated and could have added to their tally earlier on when a searching pass from Charles Zulu found David Daka unmarked but the latter fired over the bar before a yawning goal.
Zanaco continued piling pressure on their hosts with Isaac Chansa, mashalling the bankers’ midfield.
Zulu also continued raining havoc on the right wing with a virtuoso performance that stretched his marker Kamwanga into committing several fouls to stop him and it came as no surprise when the hard working Wanderers defender was shown a red card after accumulating two yellow cards with 60 minutes played.
The foul came when Tembo had cleared the lines for Zanaco before laying a pass to Kabwe who teed up Zulu. Zulu’s goal-bound run was curtailed by Kamwanga who had a late challenge on him and received marching orders in the process.
However, the deficit did not show much as Wanderers eventually took control of the proceedings as they continued searching for a goal as the game wore on.
Their persistence paid dividends with eight minutes remaining when Joseph Kasongo scored from the penalty spot after Lee Ngoma handled inside the box.
The goal sparked Wanderers to life and came close to leveling matters at the stroke of full time when Peter Banda had an opportunity to put the ball behind Nsabata after a scuffle with the defenders but failed to have a final touch on the ball with the goalkeeper sprawled to the ground.
The win has moved Zanaco to fourth position on the log after four straight wins with four games in hand. They have so far 10 goals and conceded only one.