By MICHAEL MIYOBA
CHIPOLOPOLO striker Lameck Banda scored a crucial equalizer as Lecce came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against Italian giants’ AC Millan in the 12th round of the Italian Serial A at Stadio Ettore Giardiniero, in Lecce Italy.
The stalemate was a big blow to AC Millans title hopes as they maintained third position with 23 points.
Milan had commanded play as Olivier Giroud and Tijjani Reijnders got their names on the scoresheet to give them a two-goal lead inside 40 minutes.
However, Lecce scored twice in quick succession to shock the Italian giants who had to finish the game with ten men after Giroud was handed a red card in the dying minutes of the game.
After conceding two goals in the first half, Lecce were almost back into game immediately when Strefezza got in behind Theo Hernandez and rolled a pass across the face of goal where Banda was waiting, the Zambian was however denied by Maignan who made a ridiculous reaction save.
Lecce launched their comeback through Nicola Sansone who bundled the ball into the back of the net after benefiting from a corner that was poorly defended.
Three minutes later Banda punished AC Millan with a well-executed strike after benefiting from a quick counter attack before curling the ball far right with his left foot.
In the dying minutes of added time, Lecce thought they had scored what seemed to be the winner through Roberto Piccoli who stunned AC Millan with a long-range goal with his right foot.
The goal was however rejected after VAR reviewed that Piccoli committed a foul before unleashing sublime strike.
Despite Lecce having been denied what would have been a perfect winner, Banda will feel rejuvenated as he is set to join the Chipolopolo squad that will host Congo Brazzaville in the first 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier slated for November 17 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.