CAF CL: Zanaco fire blanks against APR of Rwanda
Match Report by Brighton Munwa
The Zambian Champions Kicked off their quest to conquer Africa as they took on APR of Rwanda at Nkoloma stadium in Lusaka this afternoon.
With the organisers keen to get the atmosphere just right for the game the fans did their bit to add to this as a considerable crowd came out to take in a dose of the action they have been craving for over the past two months or so.
Zanaco were pushing early on with a quick counter on the right wing as the bankers attacked through Fashion Sakala but his final ball into the area was a disappointing one.
Zanaco kept up the pressure with two corners in a space of 10 minutes as they pushed to get into the lead.
The Rwandies were pegged in their own half during the opening exchanges and seemed short of ideas going forward as Zanaco’s defence remained untroubled.
With very little goal mouth action in the opening 20 minutes and the fans getting a little bit jittery the bankers were awarded a free kick on the left hand side of the 18 yard area but they could not work the APR goalie as fans groaned in the stands.
The Rwandies were presented with an opportunity to counter following a breakdown from a Zanaco conner kick but they could not take advantage.
Within a minute they were back on the attack and Zanaco captain Ziyo Tembo brought the APR attacker Issa on the edge of the area earning the first yellow card of the match.
The resulting free kick almost resulted in a goal for the visitors as the shot came crushing off of Each a Kola’s right hand post.
The bankers were back on the attack in the 33rd minute as Augustine Mulenga sent in a low cross that was met by the right foot of Saith Sakala who sent his shot narrowly wide of the goal.
The frustration among the local fans was growing as the away side continued to pile on the pressure with three quick conner kicks in a space of 5 minutes with one almost resulting in a goal.
The away team were awarded a free kick on the edge of the 18 yard area 3 minutes from the end of the first half. Simbomana Patrick stepped up to take the kick as he sent it over the bar.
The first half would draw to a close as the first half ended on a nil nil state of affairs with Zanaco not hitting the target.
Zanaco started the second half just as they had started the first but they were still lacking the final ball and remained largely restricted to shots outside the area which were easily blocked by the away side.
A mistake in the middle of the park gifted APR with the opportunity to bear in on the Zanaco goal but the striker Issa after beating the Zanaco defence could not beat Racha Kola in the Zanaco goal who made a comfortable save.
Both sides seemed to lack the initiative in the final 3rd as non of them could apply the finishing touch to their attacks.
With 65 minutes played on the clock, Zanaco would again be presented with an opportunity to trouble the APR goal from a conner kick.
The ball was met by the head of Richard Kadonde who headed over the bar as the state of affairs remained unchanged.
Taonga Bwembya continued to put in a man of the match performance as he won most of his duels against the attackers.
The crowd was getting even more disgruntled as the game wore on calling for the coach to bring on fresh legs.
Almost as if in acknowledgement of the fans’ call as Ghanaian Striker Kwami Atram was seen warming up as Zanaco missed yet another headed chance from a conner kick.
The Ghanian striker did eventually come on replacing under 20 international Boyd Musonda much to the disapproval of the fans who seemed to have had a different substitution in mind.
Shortly after the fans were on their feet as Taonga Bwembya sent in a cross from the right flank that was met by Augustine Mulenga on the far side.
With the APR goalie beaten it was only a smart clearance from the defender that kept the game scoreless.
Goalless was how the game would end after 90 minutes as the bankers are left with the daunting task of winning away in Rwanda when the two teams meet in a fortnight.
If the general feeling before kick off was that Zanaco would not do the country justice in CAF’s premier competition they certainly did not do themselves any favours in as far as changing this perception of the soccer fans.
Great performance by Taonga Bwembya playing in his first continental assignment as he wins the writer’s man of the match award.
Zanaco XI v APR
1 Racha Kola, 3 Ziyo Tembo, 5 Chongo Chirwa, 7 Saith Sakala 8 Taonga Bwembya 9 Kennedy Musonda (Enerst Mbewe), 14 Richard Kasonde, 21 Boyd Musonda (Kwame Attram), 22 Augustine Mulenga, 25 George Chilufya, 30 Fashion Sakala
APR XI v Zanaco
1 Emery Mvuyekure, 22 Michel Rushesha Ngoga, 24 Emmanuel Imanishimwe, 13 Aimable Nsabimana, 4 Hervé Rugwiro, 6 Yannick Mukunzi, 5 Amran Nshimiyimana, 8 Djihad Bizimana, 7 Janvier Benedata, 11 Patrick Sibomana, 26 Issa Bigirimana
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