Zesco United on Saturday cruised to the group stage after a 3-0 home win over Enugu Rangers of Nigeria at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola.
The Zambian club advanced to the mini-league phase of the competition 5-2 on aggregate, to qualify to the lucrative stage of a major continental club championship for a second successive season following their semifinal success in the 2016 CAF Champions League.
Rangers, though, arrived in Zambia three hours before kickoff due to operational reasons at their Nigerian base that resulted in a 24-delay of their departure for Zambia, originally scheduled for Thursday.
A first half brace from striker John Chingandu plus a second half goal from Kenya-import Jesse Were ensured Zesco’s passage to the round of 16.
The host were in control of proceedings in a match their goalkeeper Jacob Banda had very little to do against a jet-lagged Rangers with his 14th minute save of striker Bobby Clement’s effort one of the major highlights of his day .
Chingandu put Zesco ahead in the 24th minute when he blasted in a volley that first hit the right angle before going in leaving Rangers goalkeeper Nana Bonsu rooted to his spot.
Bonsu then denied a Chingandu another chance in the 34th minute when he parried the Zambia striker’s shot.
Four minutes later, Chingandu made no mistake when he headed in a Fackson Kapumbu cross.
Defender Kapumbu almost added the third goal but his 45th minute free-kick was tapped out by Bonsu.
Were made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute with an innocuous shot that startled Bonsu to complete the rout.
However, striker Patrick Kongolo, who scored Zesco’s second goal in the first leg that ended 2-2, was denied the opportunity of his second goal of the campaign when he failed to connect with Kapumbu’s cross from close range in the 83rd minute.
Saturday’s win leaves Zesco unbeaten in this season’s continental club championship with two wins and as many draws.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football