Zanaco returned to the top of the MTN/FAZ Super League with a goalless draw at home to Nkana on Sunday.
The result means that the bankers are the 2012 mid-season champions with 33 points, a point better than Zesco who got relegated into second position with 32 points from 15 matches. Defending champions Power Dynamos are third with 28 points.
In a match in which both sides missed a penalty each, Nkana dominated play in the opening twenty minutes of the first half with good inter-changing play between midfielders Evans Kangwa, Trust Mkandawire and Mwila Kabwe who combined well with forwards Ian Kafusha and Reynold Kampamba.
Evans Kangwa went close to giving Nkana a lead from the spot in the 21st minute but his strike was saved by Racha Kola who dived in the right direction.
The close call appeared to bring Zanaco into life as they dominated proceedings and forced two successive corner kicks in the 23rd and 24th minutes. Zanaco had suffered an early set back in the 16th minute when Samson Chilupe was substituted and replaced by Venacius Mapande due to injury.
The home team were awarded a number of free kicks in good positions in the Nkana half before the break but Henry Banda was wasteful with his execution.
Nkana had Evans Kangwa replaced by Enock Jere at the break and were the better side going forward. Despite playing at home Zanaco were content to sit back in their own half, hoping to catch the visitors on the break.
However the home side were on top with twenty five minutes remaining and their efforts paid off when referee Juan Sikazwe ruled that Charles Shamujompa had handled the ball in the area in the 86th minute but Henry Banda missed the resulting penalty, sending the ball wide of the left post after goalkeeper Mweemba went in the wrong direction.
Zanaco coach Keagan Mumba said his team could have won the game towards the end.
"It was a tough game. We lost the match towards the end. We missed a lot of chances, but we will work on them in our future matches," he said.
Mumba also observed that his team faced a big challenge because they were at the top of the league and opposing teams prepared well when they came up against them.
On the other hand, Nkana assistant coach hailed his charges for a positive result away from home.
"It was a good game. Zanaco is a good team and we knew it was not going to be easy. It is a positive result for us," said Saileti.
The goalless draw was Nkana's eleventh match without a win this season and it was Zanaco's fifteenth without defeat at home. The Kitwe outfit returned to 12th position on the log with 15 points from 15 matches.