Zanaco holds Berkane to reach quarterfinals

Zambia’s Zanaco became the least side to join the 2019-20 Total CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals, after holding already qualified and last season finalists RS Berkane of Morocco to a 1-1 draw in Berkane on Sunday.

Berkane topped the group with 11 points, one more than Zanaco who finished second on head to head basis with DR Congo’s Motema Pembe, also on 10 points. Motema Pembe defeated Benin’s ESAE 1-0 in Kinshasa in a simultaneous kickoff, but had to bow out of the group stage.

Last weekend Zanaco scored an injury time winner to defeat Motema Pembe 2-1 in Lusaka, and guarantee an aggregate 3-2 advantage that proved to be crucial after both sides finished on 10 points. ESAE trailed the group with a lone point.

In Berkane, Alain Traore waited just two minutes to give RS Berkane an electrifying start. The Burkinabe talisman received Ismail Mokadem pass to beat Toaster Nsabata between posts for Zanaco and give Berkane a very early lead.

But Zanaco fought back, and finally found the equalizer they needed. Chitiya Mususu received Charles Zulu cross to restore parity for the visitors six minutes before halftime.

But just before the break the visitors had to deal with a blow when their goalkeeper Nsabata grabbed an injury, and had to leave the pitch for second choice Mangani Banda, as the first half ended in 1-1 draw.

Berkane had the best chances of the second half, while visitors Zanaco opted to defend in numbers, knowing a draw is enough to take them to the next round on head to head basis with Motema Pembe.

Meanwhile in Kinshasa, Motema Pembe showed their intentions very early into the game. After just three minutes, Mukoko Amale squared Vinny Komba whose shot was too strong for ESAE’s goalkeeper Marcel Dandjinou as the hosts broke the deadlock.

Motema Pembe tried to find more goals, but that was not to happen in the opening half which ended with the hosts leading 1-0.

The hosts searched for more goals after the break, but ESAE who are having their debut season in CAF competitions limited their defeat to a lone goal to finish the group with a single point. Motema Pembe will have to blame themselves after letting a 93rd minute goal last weekend that coasted them a place in the quarterfinals.

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)

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