ESAE are off the mark in Group B of the CAF Confederation Cup after holding Zanaco to a 0-0 draw at Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto-Novo on Sunday afternoon.
The result sees the Zambian and Beninese clubs remain in third and fourth place on the log respectively. The Bankers have three points from as many drawn matches, while ESAE have picked up their first point of the group stage. The standings will change again this evening when co-leaders RS Berkane and DC Motema Pembe meet in Morocco.
Zanaco had the first chance of the match through forward Souleymanou Moussa, but he saw his sixth-minute strike well saved by ESAE goalkeeper Marcel Dandjinou.
The Bankers looked the likelier scorers throughout the first half, with the likes of Tafadzwa Rusike and Kiala Lassa Gradi impressing in their control of the game, though they suffered an injury blow a few minutes before the break when Charles Zulu made way for Ernest Mbewe.
The Zambian side should have gone into the interval a goal up, with Moussa rounding the goalkeeper in injury time, but delaying too long in getting a shot away, leaving the score 0-0 at the halfway point.
The second stanza opened with Zanaco making their second change, as Kebbson Kamanga replaced Lawrence Chungu. The visitors continued to outplay ESAE, though the home defence provided solid protection for Dandjinou.
The ESAE ‘keeper had a few saves to make from the likes of Moussa and Mbewe, but nothing which truly stretched him. The hosts also threatened sporadically on the counter attack, especially after Michael Dossou’s introduction in the 71st minute, but they too were unable to create many clear chances.
Perhaps the best arrived in the 85th minute when Maxime Kokpon had a clear sight of goal, but goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata made a good save to ensure the score line remained blank.
In the end the teams settled for a goalless stalemate, with Zanaco certainly the more frustrated outfit after being unable to make the most of their dominance. The duo will return to Confederation Cup action with the reverse game in Lusaka on 12 January 2020.
ESAE: Dandjinou, Sewa, Amairo, Ibrahim, Akplogan, Flacandji, Bello, Linkpon, Edou (Dossou 71’), Onyekweni, Kokpon
Zanaco: Nsabata, Nakena, Owusu Amoh, Tembo, Chungu (Kamanga 46’), Zulu (Mbewe 41’), Rusike, Lassa Gradi, Moussa, Manziba, Okutu