Saturday Mar 12, 2022. 19:00
Zesco United hopes of an unprecedented seventh ABSA Cup title were extinguished on Saturday for a second successive year when they suffered a preliminary stage exit.
The record six-time ABSA Cup champions lost 4-3 on post-match penalties to Green Eagles following a 2-2 draw fulltime in a quarterfinal doubleheader played at Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
Zesco made a very early exit this time after losing in the 2021 ABSA Cup final to outgoing champions Lusaka Dynamos who beat them 3-1 on post-match penalties following a scoreless draw.
It was a day to forget for Zesco who battled from one-down at halftime to finish tied in a game they looked like they were heading for a dramatic win.
Amity Shamende put Eagles 1-0 into the break after a first half in which Zesco goalkeeper Ian Otieno had an outstanding match with the major highlight coming in the 33rd minute when he parried a spectacular volley from Ernest Mbewe.
Hope for Zesco came in the 52nd minute after Enock Sakala equalized when poked-in the ball on the near post.
Zesco defender Clement Mwape then punished Eagles goalkeeper Kenneth Mwaanga for a howler in the 71st minute to see the record winners take a promising late lead.
It looked like Zesco were destined for victory until Eagles’ second substitute Liniker Mwikisa restored parity five minutes before time to see the contest decided via shootouts.
Amity Shamende, Boniface Sunzu, Shapy Njobvu and Emmanuel Mwaba all converted for Eagles but Hosea Swilimba saw his spot-kick saved.
Collins Sikombe, Samson Mkandawire and goalkeeper Ian Oteno converted for Zesco but Clement Mwape and Thabani Kamusoko missed their turns.
Meanwhile in the lunchtime kickoff, Nkana sailed through to the semifinals via shootouts after beating a stubborn Lumwana Radiants 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 fulltime result.
Joseph Chanda put Lumwana ahead in the 7th minute but Oliver Lumbiya leveled matters in the 57th minute en route to settling the contest on penalties.