WED 21 JUNE 2017, 16:00, GAROUA


Zanaco go clear at the top of Group D

by Graeme Jackson

Wed June 21, 18:37

Zanaco have opened up a three-point lead at the top of Group D in the CAF Champions League after defeating Coton Sport 1-0 in Garoua on Wednesday.

The Zambians have moved to 10 points, opening up clear daylight between themselves and the North African pair of Al Ahly (seven points) and Wydad Casablanca (six points). The Cameroonians are last after suffering a fourth successive defeat.

Zanaco started the brighter of the two teams yet the first effort in anger came from Coton’s Romaric Pitroipa on 13 minutes, but the Burkina Faso player failed to hit the target.

The Zambian’s attacking spearhead, Saith Sakala, then had a couple of good chances in the 17th and 19th minutes, with his first effort saved by goalkeeper Simon Omossola and his second cleared off the goal line by Dzekem Bongyang

On 21 minutes the hosts created the best chance of the first half when Fabril Kaou provided a great cross from the right to pick out the late run of Pitroipa into the box, but the attacker skewed his effort wide of the mark.

The visitors dominated the remainder of the first half, but were unable to find a way past Coton’s resilient defence, leaving the game goalless at the break.

Zanaco almost claimed the lead eight minutes into the second half when a low cross from the left by-line found Sakala free in the box, but his snap shot was superbly saved by Omossola.

Shortly before the hour mark Coton created a great chance on the counter attack for burly striker Ronald Ngah Wanja, but his stabbed shot was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata.

That opportunity signalled the start of momentum swinging in favour of the Cameroonians, who looked the likelier scorers in the final quarter of the match but were unable to break the deadlock.

Yet with the match seemingly destined for a stalemate, Zanaco hit the hosts on a swift counter attack and Attram Kwame set up Sakala with a chance - this time the striker coolly struck home a low shot with his left foot to win the game 1-0.

The teams will return to Group D action next weekend when Zanaco host Al Ahly in Lusaka, while Coton Sport will welcome Wydad Casablanca to Garoua.

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