ZESCO United held hosts ASEC Mimosas to a 1-1 draw in their CAF Champions League Group A clash at Stade Robert Champroux in Abidjan on Wednesday evening.
The result sees the Zambians join group leaders Wydad Casablanca (who host bottom-of-the-log Al Ahly later tonight) on seven points and move to within touching distance of a place in the competition’s semifinals.
ZESCO settled the quicker of the two teams and put together some promising attacking moves, but all too often they seemed to lack the killer instinct when it came to the final pass or cross.
This meant that for the most part the Ivorian side were forced to resort to long-range efforts in the first half. Their only shot which really tested goalkeeper Jacob Banda came from Diarrassouba Daouda in the ninth minute, but the gloves-man tipped it over the crossbar.
After hardly threatening in the first half, ZESCO nearly claimed the lead 10 minutes into the second when Jackson Were’s shot from outside the box deflected off a defender and nearly wrong-footed the goalkeeper, but Herve Kouakou recovered well to make a fine save.
With the match looking likely to end in a goalless stalemate, the deadlock was finally broken in the 75th minute when ASEC defender Nabil Kone beat Banda to a hopeful free kick and headed the hosts into the lead.
Yet ZESCO struck back just five minutes later, with Jackson Mwanza – who was otherwise anonymous in his team’s hard-working, defensive-minded effort – steering home a shot after ASEC failed to clear their box from a dead-ball situation.
ASEC will next be in Champions League action when they face Wydad Casablanca away on August 14, while ZESCO will travel to Al Ahly two days prior.