Nkana back on top

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Zambia Daily Mail by Online Editor on 6/2/13



PACESETTERS Nkana yesterday reclaimed the MTN Super Division leadership from Zesco United when they edged determined Nkhwazi in a thrilling Week 11 encounter watched by a capacity crowd at Woodlands Stadium in Lusaka.
The win pushed Nkana to 26 points, two better than Zesco who thrashed Konkola Mine Police 4-1 on Saturday while Nkhwazi remain stuck on 16 points.
It was Nkhwazi’s own goal through defender Derrick Mwansa that handed Nkana the much-needed boost in their quest to win their 12th Super Division title.
Mwansa, who otherwise had an impressive game, put the ball past goalkeeper Maybin Phiri on 70 minutes in an attempt to clear a cross from Noel Phiri to hand the scarlet-shirted men their third away win.
“We did what was expected of us. I am also impressed with the players’ endurance as they are able to sustain pressure, which is the most important thing especially when playing away from home,” Nkana coach Masautso Mwale said.
“I should also give credit to Nkhwazi . They really played well.  It is unfortunate they conceded an own goal under intense pressure but that is football.”
Mwale contends it is too early to start talking about winning the title.
“We will see how it goes from game to game,” he said.
Nkhwazi coach Davy Musole regretted his team’s failure to convert their chances.
“It is disappointing to lose in such a manner but that is how cruel football can be at times. We have learnt lessons from this defeat and the loss will surely motivate us to do well in our next game,” Musole said.
After conceding, Nkhwazi did not sit back.  Nkana’s lead spurred the police outfit to play an attacking game restricting the 11 times champions into their own half for the last 20 minutes.
The league’s leading scorer Stewart Chikandiwa and Musukuma Chipungu tormented Nkana’s backline of Billy Mwanza, Christopher Munthali and Donashano Malama with their direct swift runs at the defenders.
Nkhwazi’s best chance to restore parity came on 78 minutes when Chipungu’s well taken free kick went past an impressive goalkeeper Chansa Kabwe  but went just wide much to the relief of vociferous Nkana fans.
Nkana’s leading scorer Ronald Kampamba and Festus Mbewe, who have scored a combined nine goals between them, were marked out of the game.
Nkhwazi squandered a chance in added time when Chikandiwa beat an offside trap after latching onto a long ball from Chishimba Changala but his tame shot was no match for Kabwe.